From Arc 52, published by the Arc Poetry Society in 2004. I can’t blame you for claiming this place as your own personal theme park. For you, there is only summer when every curve in the road brings a new photograph— red cliffs climbing out of the sea, field upon field of white blossoms, a wharf where boats christened The Maggie-Mae and Aurora Dawn depart for the fishing grounds. How authentic: the old salt at the helm and the boy untying the bow line. You might pause a minute and imagine everything you see transformed—a winter gale blowing off the gulf for days, cabin fever, accidents involving teenagers, icy roads, alcohol. The bare bones of living here—then return to applying sun screen and minding the kids don’t drown as the tide comes in. The fine art of self-deprecation: I laugh along when you feel obliged to affect a bad Maritime accent or complain about the loaded hay wagon leading a mile-long procession into town. I wait tables for five bucks an hour and smile as you like it: Here, let me fasten this plastic bib around your neck while the cook in the kitchen drops the lobster, still living, into boiling water.