Gail Mazur

July Saturday Night 
December 14, 2014 Mazur Gail

July Saturday Night 


Now I’m going to walk downtown to Cape Tip Sportswear

And buy a swimsuit. Downtown, noisy and busytonight

That feels okay to me. Long trucks still delivering breads and cokes

And not-so-fresh produce to Bubala’s and the Stormy Harbour.

The daytrippers back-packed up and gone on the ferry,

Have tossed their empties into yards, and the Sunday-to-

Saturdays gone, their vans packed, the town bike racks empty,

Gone last night’s illegal firecrackers. Tomorrow the beginning—

Another week, peach ice cream cones, foot-long hot dogs, salt water

Taffy.  Cosmopolitans. Still, mornings when I walk downtown, everyone

Passing with dogs, without dogs, with containers of coffee, everyone

Smiles and says Good Morning! though some without this

Punctuation, their mouths determined simulacra of small-town

Friendliness. I like it, starting the day with a “Beautiful dog!”

Or even just Good morning, good morning, good morning.

Some conversation. Tomorrow, I’m sure of it, I’ll be swimming

In the silvery bay in my new Speedo, but tonight, something here

Has closed, something else opened in the passing faces,

In the ones who don’t smile, in the ones that do smile.

You sense another day of shame, another day of disappoint-

Ment with themselves, with the place they’ve come to,

The couples and the uncoupled, another day ending with grief,

Mouths not tight now, really, but tired or wistful, the smiles

Tired, or trying too hard, or very drunk, you feel it, you know it,

And the little town knows it, too, but to survive ignores it.

Also the dogs, the high-strung cats, the skunks and coyotes.

Gail Mazur, the founder of the Blacksmith House Poetry Series in Cambridge, MA, is author of 8 poetry collections, most recently Land’s End: New and Selected Poems (University of Chicago Press).