Born to a harsh place,
Concrete lots that tore my knees
when I tripped skipping rope,
but from the cliffs of Jersey City,
you could see a finger width of the Hudson,
the dividing line between NY chic,
and something else back then.
My sister told people
we lived in Parsippany
because that didn’t bear the JC taint.
And I fiercely protected my home town,
though it never felt like home to me.
Home didn’t happen till 52 years passed,
and I found myself in Harwich Port,
one of too many residents in a big house
crafted by an ocean going man
they say may have been a slaver.
It stands well,
weathered by so many years,
and filled with too many lives,
my tiny bit of heaven
where the raised voices
are never raised at me.
Where I sleep each night
in nun’s bed simplicity,
but still soundly, at peace.
The ocean a mere mile away,
Red River beach at dusk or dawn,
the distant cliffs a bit of Chatham,
facing Nantucket Sound to the South.
I can’t write there,
the words dance away,
still it is my home,
my modest garret all mine
for a hundred a week,
this worn and wondered house.
I never dreamed of Cape Cod nights,
never wished to this sort of life.
But here I am, and here I stay,
a washashore with a heart full of dreams
Jersey City never knew.