At the beach there is Jonathan Franzen sitting in a beach chair, alone but
………surrounded by many,
ignoring his adorable dog.
There is a dead seal.
There are people pretending not to notice the dead seal and people noticing the dead seal and
not knowing what to do about it.
There is a couple having a fight.
There is a guy flying a drone and staring at the sky.
There is smoke in the sky.
There is a golden retriever who swims out to get a large stick over and over.
There is a newborn baby being clutched nervously.
There is sand and no shells.
There is garbage and there are seagulls.
There is a man looking at his phone.
There is someone whose friend assaulted my friend.
There is a person who reminds us of someone I wanted to forget about.
There is a surfer getting out of the water.
There is a group of teenagers smoking weed with their backs to the ocean.
There are waves.
There is an older woman who makes me want to live to my seventies or
……..eighties after all.
There is something I thought was a shell but that was actually a bottle cap that had been weathered down.
I read an essay Franzen wrote in the New Yorker about the apocalypse and I
……..just kept thinking
about his view of it, from his beach chair.
The man with the drone packs up and leaves.
The dogs sniff the dead seal and one begins to eat it.
Madeline Lane-McKinley is a communist writer, editor, and adjunctified Literature PhD.