The past shadows
the cozy Paris of the Forties.
It’s gone. And gone are the Garbo look-alikes
at Madame Quartz’s Tangier martini walkup.
I saw them go, and the villages of Long Island
where wavelets of our calm beauty covered
a brittle tectonic future. So it was, that the famous
storm of 1937 brought us a mouthful of alarm.
The taste of fear, the smell of an ocean folding
trees in its way--these too early premonitions
of climatic changes could not crack our safety
afterward. If moving a boat could skirt the awful
consequences, we could handle that. The tide
ebbed, those who had imprisoned themselves
behind plywood windows reappeared, and we
were normal again, smoking and chatting,
a day of sandbags replaced in the aftermath
by an evening of teabags and talk. I could say
I went to Tangier to speak to the sea, but futility
in the face of overwhelming force is the great
lesson, so go home I said to myself, here is no
end of the road, either. I sat by the wall in Trudy’s
Viennese Piano Bar to stay out of the wind.