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  • There’s a ritual to mornings with my father
    pre-dawn 7-11 coffee
    misty Montauk highway.

    There’s a Pop-mobile pick-up truck with
    bobble-hipped hula girls on the dash,
    surfboards up top.

    The radio plays through rumble bump rides
    on beach roads we’re scanning, scanning
    scanning the shore.

    There’s a language to mornings with my father
    Groms and breaks and offshore winds,
    sung to The Eagles, Jim Croce.

    His excitement when we spot a swell
    and the smell of neoprene,
    SexWax and seaweed.

    Stories of the famous painter who’s a lousy surfer
    the famous surfer who’s a water poet
    the famous poet who plays the uke.

    There’s a history to mornings with my father
    he tried to teach me once, twice
    a little girl in a big man’s shorty

    After a few shortboard flounderings, he carried me
    into the only wave I ever caught
    a thrill of fearsome floating and flying

    I gave up, and he learned to build tarp cabanas,
    pack giant cans of iced tea and ice water,
    SPF 60 protects my skin from the sun.

    There’s a now to mornings with my father
    I swim, and settle in as he paddles out
    to a pod of bobbing wetsuits

    Sit on the sandy bench with the famous poet
    who plays the ukelele
    and watch

    He’s a dancer out there, my dad
    no more 60-something, bad shoulder, bum knee.
    Out there he is all glorious, light-footed, longboarded grace.

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