Everything Latin sounds immaculate. Strelitzia reginae. Bird of paradise, the houseplant you took when you walked out the door. Did you know all sparrows don’t look alike? You only see the obvious: how I am interchangeable. My body wondrous; a year later, ordinary. We were once amor volucres, lovebirds in the same messy cage, our shrieks quieter than sparrows after dusk. Read the cards, you say, and I stare at the tea leaves: tiny, gorgeous, perpetually uncertain. You rinse out the cup. Grab the plant. Pedicabo ego vos. Figure it out yourself.
Beth Sherman 🔈
The Ferris wheel landed in the sea like a toy hurled by an angry god. Now carp glide through the spokes, its cars rocking blindly, salt feeding on metal. Gawkers still peer at mangled houses: splintered frames, a toilet on its back, someone’s sagging bed frame. Where the sea wrecked the bay, a carpet of sand. You think I’m exaggerating? Look at the pictures. I made a scrapbook: before and after. What doesn’t kill you, etc.
Remember how we used to watch Jersey Shore? Snookie getting bombed at 10 a.m. Paulie D. and The Situation on the prowl for skanks. The t-shirt store where they only pretended to work. We should film our own show, you said. Call it “Tequila Blues.” At the end of each summer, MTV packed up its cameras and left and there was just you and me on the cable cars, swinging in the tired breeze. Marucca’s burned down again. The fortune teller ran off with the man from Lucky Leo’s arcade, his tattoos blurring around the edges.
“Sandy” sounds pedestrian, a girl who grows up to be a dental hygienist or a librarian at the middle school. You don’t expect much trouble from her. You don’t expect to be body-slammed. When the next hurricane comes, I’ll name it after you. No sea wall will be high enough to withstand the waves, no barricades will save the piers. Try rebuilding the boardwalk with fake wood. Try mending my manicure with duct tape. At night, dune grass still rustles and the moon still bites the highest chair on our wheel.
About the Author
Beth Sherman received an MFA in creative writing from Queens College, where she teaches in the English department. Her poetry has been published in numerous publications, including Hartskill Review, Lime Hawk, Hawaii Pacific Review, Gyroscope Review, The Evansville Review, Rust + Moth, Silver Birch Press, Zingara, Blue River Review, and Calamus Journal. She is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee who has written five mystery novels.