If you take Beach Boulevard,
away from the ocean,
not toward it,
past stripmalls
and mobile home parks,
past motels,
The Riviera, The Starlight, The Villa,
with rusted chairs piled around
drained and cracked pools,
past freeway ramps
that shine at night with the candles
of the homeless like signals
from lost ships,
You will come to a vacant corner lot,
where in July
a flatbed truck drops off
a plywood fireworks shack,
tiny plastic flags wave next to
stacks of sparklers and streamers,
where at Halloween
they bring in hay and scarecrows,
Indian corn, pale orange pumpkins
spilled onto the parched ground.
And at Christmas, the same stretch
sells trees,
the salespeople wear gloves,
for the sap, not the cold,
and the children reach in to pet
two thirsty reindeer enclosed
by a metal fence.
These are the holidays of our street,
Beach Boulevard, away from the ocean,
not toward it.

Published in Blue Satellite, Anthology of Orange County Poets

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash