“Beauty and love are all my dream;
They change not with the changing day.”
–From Andrew Young’s “Beauty and Love”
“I just want to be loved,” she said
at the souvenir shop, standing shoulder
to wings with clam shells
glittered and glued into angels.
Said this in the Buccaneer hotel room,
The bathroom while plucking her brows,
says it now at Ricky’s by the Shore
and its neon-blue bar where we decide
if she should divorce. Oak tables
fenced by families gloats beside us.
“Maybe he does love me, but
I don’t know what love is.”
Who hasn’t asked—“Love, what art thou?”
Robert Burns, you’ve lead us here to
frozen Hemingway Holidays
with your, “My love’s like a red, red, rose.”
We decide to hate the rose, spotted with fungus,
bloom once a year. Taking pen to napkin,
she tallies: Sex once a year,
Good dad, debates the worth of each.
Perhaps math is more honest
than poetry, especially with these claims:
“Till all the seas gang dry, my dear,
and the rocks melt with the sun,
And I will love thee still, my dear....”
At least I have Millay: “Love is not all:
it is not meat nor drink;”
So, we order chicken wings,
debate love’s usefulness. Behind us,
a group of six are mating: “Remember how
we masturbated together!” one squeals.
“I’m afraid I do need love, whatever
that is. Does that make me weak?”
She looks out to the night waves we cannot see.
Below the moon, a navy line divides black
from black. Something a child would draw,
claim to be ocean, vacation, summer,
a line adequate enough to carry
a heavy ship inch-by-inch out of sight.