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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 8, Number 2, June 2014

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Marge Piercy
Wellfleet, Massachusetts, USA


The crowded season is just beginning

Small crabs nip my toes.
How lovely:
cold water in July.

Too many visitors come in summer to the Cape. The two bridges are backed up for miles in the heat, brains simmering, tempers filling the cars with invisible ash. Yet the ocean is constant. It glides into the beach until the wind roils it so it falls over itself in foam and tears at the land, eating away at it in great mouthfuls. It is always itself no matter how much garbage washes up. It rises up the horizon until that distant line of sky, at night marked only by the occasional lights of a tanker passing small as a mouse. Even deer come down to the beach at dawn.

The Bay is more variable, the water retreating at low tide exposing acres of little polished rocks and broken shells. As the summer rolls on through August, the Bay waters warm somewhat. You can always see minnows and hermit crabs creeping along under borrowed shells. The terns play Cirque de Soleil while the gulls beat along in straight lines unless they spy food. We bring supper and sit facing west, waiting for the red sun to slide into the Bay. As it lowers itself, more people come to sit facing it. They bring blankets and beach chairs. They bring wine in paper bags. It is something locals do after the workday, one time we actually join those on vacation.

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