Looking Forward
to the Twentieth Century

 

Horses and carriages stir up the beach

until the waves take them down. I tip

 

my top hat and flick my tails back

to brine's lovely new tide. Wheels,

 

hooves, jellyfish. The boardwalk sign

is clear. Seaweed much too rabid—No

 

Bathing Today. But 1900 is resplendent

in its high collar, hard to see over, so

 

people keep jumping in. Something optimistic

about salt, scouring the old cataracts,

 

surging somewhere. And they do. The sand

a little queasy under all the tripods

 

that snap impromptu farewell pictures.

Populations rush out to sea waving, ride

 

the snorting riptide as it bucks them

right over the edge of the flat world.

 

Look at that inspiring curve out there!

Who's next? Who's next? The crowd

 

along the beach bulges forward

like a new horizon. No one wants

 

to be left behind when it sinks.

I shrug and take my place in line.

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