Jules with Alicia Ultan on Viola
A seagull walks from sea to land
on snow and sand in January.
The tide pushes in, breaking up the ice
and I walk on the beach
in boots and winter coat.
Buried shell in the sand
has no ringing, only silence.
Behind me is the JFK Memorial.
I am walking these same beaches of Nantucket Sound
as our 35th President who said:
“The new frontier of which I see is summed up not by what
I intend to offer the American people, but what I intend to ask of them.”
I was a baby when he was assassinated
some Americans remember that day with such clarity
it shortens their breath.
A lone gunman blamed, scapegoat
someone to quickly arrest and prosecute.
It must go deeper.
Kennedy pledged to withdraw us from the Vietnam war,
pledged to break the CIA “into a thousand pieces,”
pledged to keep America a democracy.
The concrete benches are silent, praying in a circle.
I walk around them, listening, leave my footprints in snow.
The snowy-sandy shore is waiting.
The seagull is puffing up his feathers to insulate himself
from the cold.
I retreat to my traded house on the Cape.
At night I use the outdoor hot tub and watch the steam rise.
Half-full moon, I see my breath.
I am nestled in the thick forest of bare trees
I wonder what it was like
to walk that beach as President in summer
to wonder if he knew he was being followed
to wonder how it was
for hundreds of years
before the white man came
before we landed a man on the moon.
The JFK Memorial was dedicated July 8, 1966 and is located adjacent to Veteran’s Memorial Park on Lewis Bay in Hyannis, Massachusetts.(This image is from a postcard.)
Jules Nyquist lives in Albuquerque and is the creator of the Poetry Playhouse. She received her MFA from Bennington College, VT and her poetry collection, “Appetites,” (Beatlick Press) was a finalist for the New Mexico/Arizona 2012 Book Awards. Her next book of poems, with a projected spring 2014 release date, is entitled “Behind the Volcanoes.” www.julesnyquist.com
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