Boardwalk Closed (April 2020)

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Hillel Broder


because the sign read
boardwalk closed
until further notice,
I knew we were in trouble
when you started mistaking 
pebbles in pavement
for shells 

so we took the long walk around it all. 
because it was 
over a mile to the end,
and because it was Passover, 
we saw far more of our neighbors 
who by then had taken to the street,
and the cold became caked in our shoes. 

and in the haze
of an early spring ocean,
its wind and light
became a crash 
and a crab’s arm.

in the blinding sunset
you buried yourself in my chest
when you tried to count the waves.
it was impossible to detect a pattern. 

here we are. please
don’t take this from us: salt on our lips,
Seder’s paradox 
and sweetness.

we’re lost in circles of sand 
on the edge of the world 
and the beginning 
of something else.

Hillel Broder has written previously about Jeremiah Lockwood and The Sway Machinery for The Forward. He holds a PhD in English from The Graduate Center, CUNY. Currently, he is a teacher and writer in New York. Follow him on Twitter @hillelbro. He has published two books of Jewish poetry, Counting Spheres and Daily Blessings.