Cape Cod Postcard
by Jennifer Rose 

    The map of the Cape flexes its muscles. 
    Manomet bulges—biceps to P-town’s 
    curled fist. Inlets ripple like arterial 
    highways. I am here alone, in the off-season.

    The hermit crabs and I have found 
    a hundred vacancies—unheated—and hope
    to last the weekend without crying. The wind’s 
    baritone is the only culture left here; it gropes 

    for the grass’s high notes in the rain. 
    I’ve strained to hear the foghorn’s boyish tenor 
    but it’s gone, like the tourists’ noisy children. 
    Will they remember it, as I have all these years— 

    the ocean’s rooster—or was it just another 
    summer for them? Today I braved the beach 
    to watch cold fishermen in waders 
    casting off. What is it like to watch 

    the water not for metaphors, but fish? 
    I see the ocean’s muddy hemline rising 
    like the tide of Paris fashions, or wish 
    I were a boat in the crook of Orleans’ 

    arm. I hear of stranded pilot whales 
    at First Encounter Beach and think of love. . . . 
    So, who said poets should be practical? 
    I hope this finds you well when it arrives. 

     (First appeared in The Women’s Review of Books.
     Copyright © 1995 by Jennifer Rose. All rights reserved.) 


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