The Atlantic

We lost our seaside picnic
when clouds found us, then showers,
so we scrambled up the sandwiches,
half-empty glasses, our itchy blue blanket.
We finish lunch in the Honda,
the radio playing that Edith Piaf song
still convincing us, and herself,
that her baby just cares for her.

You know the tune. And the rain
snaps time with her piano
as we whistle the final verse.
Windshield wipers smear
water across my eyes,
teasing peeks of dune grass
ripped crazy by gusts—
bowing, twisting, stretching up.

And now a word from their sponsors.
I lower the volume and lean to kiss her
but she’s chewing chicken, so it’s a joke.
At least we’re both kind of laughing
and the dash is rattling heat
so, happy enough, we watch
the salty waves punch the shore
and the shore stay down.

Now she kisses me, like a hey there,
more buddy than flirty, but that’s nice too?
Then we are silent again, just shifting
with the wind’s cries and the tap tap tap
of water typing nonsense on the roof.
She turns the radio back up and now it’s Elvis.
Who still plays this? she asks, maybe kidding,
so I say, you know he’s still alive?

I tell her he’s probably at a seashore too,
maybe in that steamed-up Coupe deVille
six spots down. No doubt with some shy miss
all big brown eyes and trembling;
singing that he can’t help falling in love.
But he’d be what—eighty? Still horny?
Still hunting with those sleepy eyes? She answers,
it’s boys like Elvis who make women like Edith.

Mic drop! And her tone tells me time to go.
I strain for one last glimpse
of our beach below. But the rain
is thicker and fog is swimming in;
even Elvis gives up, backs out, glides away.
Because today is just an unseen cliff,
and tomorrow, breaking below,
is the Atlantic.