Walking Across Fire Island

Shelley Wong

The ocean crashes & the bay rolls in.

Planks creak along the boardwalk, as a deer

emerges underneath. Umbrellas open

like sudden fruit. I inhale salt air

as fog lifts off the brush. Here, I can let

the deer know me. The daytrippers have sailed

& the sun is falling. My friend Nina once said

deer are dumb. I hear the Atlantic on two sides,

the sister ocean. To look and not think

about looking. Deer or gentle friend

or mothering question, perpetual guest,

Long Island duchess, beach hostess —

I am in a floating year. They must all

be related by now, the deer, like beaches.

I imagine a deer walking out of the ocean,

the water returning to me, as it always will.


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