By the Wayside
On the Jersey Shore in Cape May there’s a motel called
By the Wayside.
Out front there’s a 20 foot statue of Peter Pan
which the owner built
because he said every time he looked at it
he was reminded of happy endings.
Moira the motel lady, that’s how I’m known.
Lots of year-rounds as we call them,
tenants who call this home.
In Room 2B there’s a tiny Japanese man from San Francisco
who has a compulsion to check envelopes before sealing them
to make sure his daughter isn’t inside.
He lives in constant terror
that he will mail her away forever.
The gorgeous Josh one floor above bartends nights
at a restaurant down the shore
where he says he’d never be caught dead
under normal circumstances.
But nothing’s been normal he says since
Manhattan’s theatre world hung him out to dry.
Alice next to the office visits to have her makeup done on slow nights.
She left her husband of 30 years
the day she found his note to her on the kitchen table
signed with both his first
and last name.
The pain is in the details, the small things.
It’s in the smell of baby aspirin
and in watching a mother stoop down to painstakingly
wipe her child’s dirty face.
It’s in a line of baby clothes hanging outside to dry.
In the sound of her name:
We were shoe shopping.
I was filling the parking meter and she stepped away
for an instant,
And I moved from that life to this,
my husband’s anger still loud in my head.
where summers are a blur and where
it is easy to disappear.