The Night, Saturday, Bridge
from Panic, forthcoming from Alice James Books, January 2011
The mound they gathered around
was a green sea turtle
dead, her flippers stiff,
head elegantly bent,
the carapace a swirl of green and gray and black,
a signature for sure,
and the children who found her
tried to tip her over
until a mother yelled, Don’t touch it; it could have germs,
and then a kid used a stick to jab her flipper
to see if she would bleed.
the boardwalk was stirring;
The lights that had been blinking invisibly
in the glare of the white sky
were revealed as night came,
the same night two teens,
a boy and girl, would be lured away,
the boy tied up, the girl raped,
the perpetrator fleeing the dry town of Ocean Grove,
taking the Garden State Parkway
either north or south,
and was never caught.
It’s all anyone talked about all week,
the turtle, the rape; then Saturday came.
The mayor was glad;
then the bridge between the island and mainland
got stuck open due to the heat,
and it was something to see,
the long snake of cars,
the air rippling above them.