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Now and Then ...



Side 2 Track 5


If not now what then


Biking up London Avenue, Port Royal, small cottages with porch swings,

right and left, boats in the yards,

bait shop coming up just before

the turn on Sands Beach Road,

gliding through the marsh and


cruising left before the boat launch,

across hard sand, tidal swales, big ruts,

weaving between puddles and parked cars,

a Low Country Impressionist landscape

where the Battery meets the Beaufort,

children and adults bent over looking


for ancient shark teeth, Tracy Chapman

on the iPhone, as I wonder, ever wondering,

what’s next in this life, almost 76, riding

a bike like some kid, noseeums biting my legs,

cool breeze on my sweaty brow as I hit soft

sand, handlebars wobbling, hard pedaling


until I turn back off the beach, through

the marsh, past the bait shop, small cottages

with porches, boats in the yards, a right

on 12th Street, gliding left into Duck Blind Way,

coasting through the white picket fence,

left foot dropped onto the gravel, right leg


swinging over the seat, rolling the bike

up the step into the blue shed (rain

is forecast), telling myself once

again that if there is no now

now, then there is no then

then.


—SL, Port Royal, SC, April 2022

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