Simultaneously One Summer

Day 10 of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo and yesterday’s poem is still rattling around my head.  Today’s prompt reads thus:

Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem of simultaneity – in which multiple things are happing at once.

And what is emerging from my draft is another unconventional love poem.  Because there is an element of story I am opting for prose poem form for it. Some say prose is writing within margins, poetry defies margins. Merriam -Webster defines a prose poem as “a composition in prose with elements of a poem.”

The Summer of 1968

The cities began to burn like brushfire.

My family drove the Jersey Pike to visit my Grandmother in the Lutheran Home.           She had had a stroke, lying speechless in her bed, slowly dying.

We had passed Atlantic City on the way, but my mother couldn’t be persuaded to take a turn off extra dividend. She said ‘no’ in hushed tones, which made the city seem full of sin.

Or maybe it was because her ill-starred, unhappy parents had eloped there and so began the whole sad unravelling.

We drove back to my aunt’s, quiet in the car.

Meanwhile, your eighteen-year old self was there on a J1 visa having your Big American Adventure with your twin,

picking up and dropping down jobs like the pizzas you twirled on the Boardwalk. You snoozed in unoccupied hotel rooms, snuck in by Housekeeping. Down to your last dimes, you and your brother ate plums and milk on the beach watching the sun come up.

And we never met, even as I was  feeling a tidal tug towards you, asking my mom to turn off there to have a look.

Double my lifetime from that day.

We had gone our separate ways.

We travelled continents in opposite directions.

We crossed decades.

But finally

you saw me.

I saw you.

And we knew.


© 2018 Bee Smith




Featured image is a photo of the Atlantic City elephant circa 1970s found on

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