Anthony Adrian Pino
Beach Town In Winter

I stayed, but they left;
left  with their phone holsters and big black cars,
left with kids in the back seats, buckled up with stacks of bright
terrycloth towels, deflated beach balls
and baskets of brie, prosciutto, baguettes, and cabernet;
left, heading east in a large, metallic caterpillar's crawl,
winding back to their bridges and hedges, curbs and football schedules,
left their tired white summer cottages
wind-worn, salt-scratched, boarded-up and bare
overlooking the weathered solitude of darkening beaches.
They left them alone to the wind, to the drifters
and pelicans, to the migrant workers cleaning up
strawberry patches and staking out the cabbages,
to the chowder houses, the boarded-up ice cream parlors,
the lonely book houses, the just-graduated garage boys
and to me, and I remain.

The town is calm and loose again, putting her face to the great ocean,
drinking its sad white milk, bracing her angry stone shoulders,
and shaking her dark cypress hair.
And there, at her feet I'll take winter,
take the unpainted fences and the lonely gulls,
take the panting, angry ocean, the swelling green coves,
the salt-flinging waves and the endless shrieking harangue
that screams "Epic, epic, epic" against a tone-deaf continent.
I'll take winter.