Starting from Paumanok
by Robert Gruber

From Long Island
The same Long Island as Walt Whitman
Be pleased they named a shopping mall
After him and a rest stop on
the Jersey Turnpike.

Same Long Island of hair spray
suburbia, and beaches alone in grey
winter. Weathered wood boardwalks
creaking clunking music under feet,
bicycle tires, baby carriages.

Afternoon winter walks
windy sky bluer than blue. Whispy
clouds so far away. Rustling beach
grass. The thin, clear air.

Hasidic Jews walking after Saturday schul black
sideburns blowing in the wind, vast gangs
of laughing families-the Long Island
Amish. Construction workers catacalling spandex
clad joggers as taught thighs disappear
in the haze of distance.

Red brick eternal buildings. Elderly
buddahs in hats from their youth
sitting on benches waiting for death.
Wrinkled eyes smiling to the wind reflecting
green ocean, white sand blowing across
withered boards. Your long white beard.