My grandma noisily swigged dregs
of chocolate shake through a limp straw.
Flavored milk filmed her empty glass.
“I’m playing the drugstore blues,”
she declared in satisfaction,
recalling shiny fountains
and white-coated soda jerks
who politely pulled thick syrups
a monochrome midcentury away
from the machined sweets
and imported household goods
that line today’s fluorescent aisles.
The silver sky razors the gunmetal sea.
A small trawler churns around the barrier island,
cutting a wake that subsides shiny smooth
between a parked Coast Guard vessel alongside the outer pier
and concrete block warehouses at the town’s threshold
that emit a constant refrigeration hum.
The single missile pylon of the pedestrian bridge pierces
the sail that billows from the harbor side,
welcoming fierce winds that forever rush shoreward.
Snowy seabirds skim the ripple-mirrored water
between moored fishing boats with faded blue mildewed hulls
and yellow bumpers dangling from bow and stern.
Cars mumble up the curved road from the docks,
and small songbirds chatter in short-needled evergreens.
Through the plateau park, relaxed adults trail happy dogs
and masked children in the cool and peaceful afternoon.
Across the table out front
they are engrossed in each other,
the guy with earlobe plugs
and the tattoo-splattered girl.
For more than an hour
the two have been immersed
in fervent conversation,
oblivious to their surroundings.
Behind the bar their cupid
silently eats garbanzos
and breaded fish patties
cut out in dinosaur shapes.
His pride at having made
this fresh connection hasn’t
offset the gnawing hunger
from his own recent breakup.
The Introvert’s Dilemma
Whose monochrome nose
is swollen in the fish eye
of my electric doorbell camera?
A bearer of anticipated packages
or a dreadfully determined apostle
of some pamphlet gospel?
Perhaps if I pretend I am not at home
she or he will go away.
But it may be a neighbor needing help—
a grave emergency. Still,
I will wait until blood or smoke
seeps across the threshold.
About the Author
Christina E. Petrides is an expatriate American living and working on Jeju Island, Republic of Korea. Her first book for children, Blueberry Man, was issued in June 2020 by Tchaikovsky Family Books. Her poetry for adults has been published in a score of periodicals over the last 2 years.