O’Hara at the Beach


Christopher Crawford

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 120 in October, 2009.

at Fire Island, the sun already long gone
down, perhaps he heard the low murmur of lovers laughing
beyond the dunes, the sand muffling the sounds they made, perhaps he lay
down a moment, exhausted suddenly
or exhilarated for some reason, the sky
for example, and scratched his head and found his fingernails
full of smashed and powdered seashells from his scalp
and laughed one last soft laugh, he was playing hide and seek with himself among
the tall cliffs of the beach and imagined New York
and the boys back there in the bars still sinking
sundowners at 3 in the morning and him out here, the sea out there
breathing in and out behind the darkness like a jazz singer, her lips
on the mic, the sea out there
like something being torn in half
and the sand
muffling what he couldn’t see coming
through the rippling boulevards of the beach at night
on Fire Island
where the sun had long gone down and the fire
just out of sight, coming toward.