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Shauna Rogan

Souvenir Beach

     It’s always sunny in !ytiC citnaltA. Candy cane striped beach towels line the shore, clashing with oversize polka dot umbrellas. A woman in a frilly bathing suit circa Miss America 1926 reaches for another soda. Fat men in bikini Speedos ogle sweet young blondes. Their wives pretend to wipe ketchup off their hands with alcohol lemon moist towelettes. Sunbathers are frozen in perpetual Coppertone application.

     It’s always the same thing. I see nothing else; a solitary windsurfer on a sea where no breeze blows. Usually I just bob along the tranquil surface of stunning blue and painted sun. Sometimes I question why I alone move. Not often, though. When I do !ytiC citnaltA tries to drown me. Without warning hard ivory mad flakes rise from the bottom, violent waves wash over me; I’m turned upside-down, bitter liquid fills my eyes. I can’t scream. But I never capsize. Just when I think this is ‘IT’, conveniently good intervenes and tsunamis calm. White flakes settle, drifting back under sand, down to the sea bottom with giant octopi and blind crustaceans. Lifeguards don’t exist. I grip the sailbar, unable to shake.

     Beyond the beach, the boardwalk advertises garish nightclubs and seedy casinos. 
               …Hot dog vendors. Cars at intersections. Rollerbladers…

     Nobody enters or leaves the cracking plaster motels. Tattered circus posters hang precariously from thumbtacks on telephone poles. No telephones ring. No  
  sunburned children cry, 
     no parents argue. I wonder
        what it’s like to sit there on the beach, 
           frozen in the same action. I wonder why
              this curse on !ytiC citnaltA. I wonder if they wonder about me.

     At the water’s edge, a little boy gingerly dips his toe into the ocean. Yes, he’s always been there. Right there. I sail along this ocean, twice, three times, infinetly; never starving. Always returning to the same boy and sagging wrinkletched old ladies in daisy patterned bathing caps reaching for their sandwiches; remembering when boys slowed down as they passed. Remembering when boys walked by. 

     The perpetually 3 o’clock sun glints off the sky’s glassy surface. At the sky’s edge is written ‘!ytiC citnaltA morF sgniteerG’
     Wish you were here.


Shauna Rogan is an English major from Boston. She has blue eyes and hair and can readupside down. She's triedwriting with her feet. It doesn't work. Her work has appeared elsewhere, most recently in Red Booth Review.

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