Wishing You Knew Jersey
Hey, buddy.
Don’t tell me you know the place
just because you had a layover once in Newark.
Or because you made that Parkway run last weekend
to play the tables in AC. Eight-point-nine million of us
are shoehorned onto this peninsula and, yeah, there’s a chip
teetering on our collective shoulder, placed there by the
Garden State’s two largest cities—New York and Philly.
An inferiority complex built one latenight joke at a time.
But don’t worry, Sandy couldn’t knock it off,
so it’s staying for good. Anyway, I can’t talk right now.
I got some idiot behind me flashing his high beams
because I’m only doing 80 in the fast lane.
I’m tapping the brakes.
Then there’s this place I go,
sublime as any in the
other forty-nine,
where cold water pours
from the pitchers
of blue mountain lakes
through flume and pool,
swirling smooth bowls
into red sandstone.
Where trout pock the brook
each evening, kingfishers
flash toward the Delaware,
and in August
when drought allows the
careful wade to Tocks,
the river wraps warm around
my legs—God’s spa, then
splashing the shallows
to find bear tracks
in the island’s damp sand.
originally published in the Comstock Review



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