Standing on the stone compass
across from the Lobster House
where the old fishing boats fit snug in their slips,
I inhale the musky sweetness of seaweed and garbage
on the shore. Chlorine and sunscreen perfume my skin.
Seagull silhouettes spin over the Coast Guard base
beyond the harbor.
Surrounded by three-story beach houses,
I weave along the pebble path back to Number 11
as the sun goes down. A straw of frozen cola stuck
in my teeth, only slipping on plastic sunglasses
as I walk past silent lawn service workers smirking
around cigarettes and slurred Russian in my wake.
Back inside The Lawrence Welk Show glows softly
in the empty living room. Granny hums “When the Swallows
Come Back to Capistrano” on the level above
as she stirs powdered lemonade,
the clinking of ice and spoon in the silver pitcher echoing
off the cream hallway walls. I pretend it’s loud enough
to muffle the sounds of Grampy’s cough from the third floor.
In the blue bedroom, the seashell comforter
imprints my skin in the hazy light of dusk.
I watch my reflection in the mirror
across the room, the blinds throwing slices
of ruby sun and shadow.
My head rests against the cool, gold frame of a painting:
a covey of yellow-haired girls picking wildflowers
whose faces all turn away to something
on the white horizon, out of frame.
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.