I spent my childhood summers
listening to the sound of the ocean’s tongues
lap the shore’s sandy face,
the cries of gulls stirring the salty air.
Lying on a soggy towel,
holding a book over my head,
its words lifting me to other worlds.
Eating tuna sandwiches
while feeding the squawking gulls,
fighting like bickering lovers over scraps.
Hearing my parents and their loud friends from Egypt
clustered like a gaggle of Arabic speaking geese
sheltered in a group of umbrellas,
littering the sand with their peach pits
and pumpkin seed shells.
Floating on my back in the ocean
as I stared into a kite-speckled sky
teaming with white cotton candy.
Taking a shower and uncovering
a mini shore in my swim suit
of sand, rocks, and seaweed.
Going to bed and feeling the cozy warmth
of the day’s sun radiate from my reddened skin,
warming me in the cool night,
my mattress a big raft
floating in a sea of dreams, moonlight, and chirping crickets.
And there it was.
Tucked under an edge
of the Charles River Bridge,
lit by the early morning light
reflected off the still river—
a homeless village.
With their colorful tents,
piles of empty tin cans
in rusting supermarket carts
waiting to be redeemed
for a few life-saving dollars,
with their fluff spilling out
and poky springs,
empty, cracked vodka bottles,
and rusting propane tanks
for cooking whatever-scraps of food.
I stare at men emerging from tents,
as if they were beings from another world,
their waking arms yawning in the morning sun.
Miriam Manglani lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and three children. She works full-time as a Sr. Technical Training Manager. Her poems have been published in various magazines and journals including Poetry Quarterly, Rushing Thru the Dark, Vita Brevis, Cerasus Magazine, Sparks of Calliope, and Canyon Voices. Most recently, her poetry chapbook, Ordinary Wonders, was published by Prolific Press.