Myrtle Beach, 1966
Convertibles blared down the boulevard:
Under the boardwalk . . . What kind of fool . . .
Ain’t too proud to beg . . . Thirteen,
I flashed Vs for peace at soldiers on leave.
My too-long legs itched to run.
The air was charged with Krispy Kreme,
Coppertone, foot-longs, sea spray.
My grandmother squeezed my hand till it hurt
at the saltwater taffy machine
whose metal arms worked pastel ribbons,
its window framed with colored lights
reflecting her face lit up like a child’s. Stay,
just a little bit longer . . .
We were so close to the rides,
I could hear the clack clack clack
of the roller coaster teasing up
its wooden scaffold—release so close—
the screaming plunge.