Tottenville


I’ve never been good at saying what I mean.
This morning took a trip to Staten Island.

The aquarium unnatural as a glass eye
where sight should be,
I wonder when the world will be made whole.

How many hours awake
before the body gives up?

My grandfather is king of his island.

Walking along the South Shore
we stepped around a big dead bird,
grey and white body nestled
like a shell in sand.

Captain Christopher Billopp built his
grand stone manor overlooking the beach
in 1680. Admiral Lord Richard Howe took it
over in 1776, and today, the museum hosts tours

for $3 a pop.
We can all be a part of history.

Aunt Sharon showed us where
the red cliffs washed away.
Houses are built close on roads leading
to the small coast that’s left
overlooking Arthur Kill and Perth Amboy.

We ate at Z restaurant for lunch,
and ordered
whatever we wanted
as per Grandpa.

There is so much about the man
I don’t know.

High ceilings changed colors,
orange and bronze pillars
surrounded the room,
tv’s were set in large gold picture frames,
menus were too heavy to hold up.

I ordered a tuna steak salad
rare, from the waitress
with frosted blonde hair
who was kind and tired,

and annoyed at the giant menus.
She let Grandpa get the lunch special,
even though it was well after three.
He said his favorite Broadway show
is South Pacific.

Staten Island always feels like coming home.
Especially when it hurts.

I’ve never been good at saying what I mean,
so I hugged Grandpa for a few extra seconds
and thanked him again for lunch
before climbing back into the car.

His tomato garden is a sand box now.
His grill is warped and no good from burning
brush in it with lighter fluid last summer.

The sun was just starting to go down when we
headed toward the ferry.

He waved and closed the front door behind him,
then I imagine he hung up his coat.

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About amyleighcutler

Writer, dancer, vagabond extraordinaire
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