Labor Day: Brighton Beach

By NATHAN MCCLAIN

How lovely, at last, to have nothing to do but sit, shirtless, in my collapsible chair, reading Gerald Stern’s American Sonnets, and lovely to sit, beer in my lap, just a little tipsy, lovely, too, to ignore beauty, or desire, or whatever, the young woman unfolding her nylon tent, smacking each stake into the sand with her sandal’s heel, slipping discreetly into her swim suit, though I could watch the plane zip past, tugging a banner for Wicked, which there was still time to see if you wanted, or the sailboat glide slowly by, and it was a good day for sailing, a good day, so I didn’t have to think about sorrow or loss, though, let’s face it, I did, how not to—the old man missing a left leg—not how it happened, or when—but if it gets easier, you know, living with it, crutch snug under each armpit, and Jill had been gone a long time to warm her goat curry, then further out, a jet ski, like a straight razor, slits the water’s surface, Carmen already asleep under a sun hat.

[Purchase Issue 18 here.]

 

Nathan McClain is the author of Scale, a recipient of fellowships from Sewanee Writers’ Conference, The Frost Place, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and a graduate of Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers. His poetry and prose have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Poem-a-Day, The Baffler, upstreet, and West Branch Wired. He teaches at Hampshire College.

Labor Day: Brighton Beach

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