(Changing it up from the usual essay post. Originally published in the Philadelphia Inquirer)
OCEAN CITY, NEW JERSEY 2011
Look at the Polish woman in the black turban and hoop earrings;
her shapeless black swimsuit ends in a flirty skirt.
How do I know she is Polish, you might ask –
because she looks like all my aunts.
This must be her daughter, sullen and tattooed
and her granddaughter, a princess in pink.
Here comes Anna Nicole in a leopard print bikini.
I thought she died, but here she is in Ocean City.
You may be surprised to know
that she is now married to Tony Soprano.
And now comes the young father
wondering how he ended up as pack mule,
bound to fulfill every command of the three females
who precede him, regal in their turquoise and purple Crocs.
Oh, Grandma and Grandpa, how did you get so large?
You are like two barges
moving slowly along the sand.
Was it decades of unabated sticky buns
or the simple accretion of years?
Like two massive tree trunks
where each successive ring of growth
is proof of something.