John F. McCullagh

(09/28/1954 / Flushing)

Last Summer


Summers by the Jersey shore
Have always called to me,
As though a Siren lived beside
our cottage by the sea.
A place where wave
and wind and sand
conspired perfectly
to make a simulacrum
of what Paradise might be.

This will be my last summer
coming to the Jersey shore.
My medications manage pain
But they can do no more.
The doctors say I have six months
before I cease to be.
So I have chose to spend that time
in my cottage by the sea.

I walk alone at Evening tide
beside the golden shore.
The tide erases every step
I take forevermore.
For I am not eternal
Like the deep and restless sea.
In truth I am ephemeral
More than I’d like to be.

I cannot bargain with my fate
I cannot buy more time.
This vintage, strictly limited,
is dying on the vine.

Too soon it will be Labor Day
And time for you and me
To close the place up one last time
our cottage by the sea.

Submitted: Sunday, June 02, 2013
Edited: Wednesday, September 04, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

A dear friend has received the bad news of the sort we all must someday face. We all have a last summer, we just hope it is not yet. I wrote this in first person Point of view for immediacy and dramatic effect. I do not in any way intend to make light of my friend's suffering.

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