Low blacks in sweats, a kid
finds the bench I watch people from
while smoking a cigarette away

from the ocean-view rooms—
sidles-up like an innocuous snake
or a squirrel from under the boardwalk

to share conversation with a man
three times his age. He wants to know
if I think the world is flat—

waves crashing, tide retreating,
blaze compressed in the haze—
he’s got obnoxious down pat.

Clutching a lighter in his tight fist,
I leave him a smoke on the bench
to watch it roll off the edge.


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