When the sand is still cool from the previous night,
and the tourists are brunching at the bed and breakfasts,
I traipse down Steger toward the Cove.
Piping plovers scurry out of my path as I clench
a straw of bitter iced coffee between my teeth.
On the horizon a Fata Morgana appears, shimmering
in the midmorning haze. My bare feet thump across
the stretch of sand where the water and land come together
and grow apart, where little clams dig
into the earth when the water retreats.
By the lighthouse at Cape May Point, I step into the shade
cast by the World War II bunker glinting dully in the sun,
a fringe of weeds and graffiti sprouting from its rusted frame.
Those days of recklessness and lust
come back to me; your hand outstretched to pull me
up onto the bunker—testing my fear, giving up—
shading my eyes to watch you scale it alone.
The sun pushes past the clouds;
my sunglasses slip down my nose,
and sweat gathers at the small of my back.
Nostalgia sends me walking backward
in my own footsteps.
C. M. Donahue holds a BFA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing with a Poetry concentration from Emerson College and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Connecticut. Poetry by Donahue has recently been published in The Mantle, Jersey Devil Press, Amaryllis, and Sonic Boom.