Richard Levine: “Playing at Forever”

Playing at Forever

The ocean never stops its tug of war 
with beach sand.  Its great democratic voice 
consumes all the laughter and whispered vows 
vacationers make on blankets, spread out

under brightly striped umbrellas under 
the sun and our tans that end where our suits
begin.  We have come as far away from 
our careers as a tide of untimed time

could take us, yet we find there is something
naggingly familiar in the way native 
children smile at us.  They coax us to throw
coins they dive for, perhaps their only real

freedom.  Resurfacing, their faces glow 
brightly as their palms lined with silver.
Our minds float above us like jellyfish,
permeating our days with stinging

responsibilities.  But here we are 
untethered from time’s twins, and our bodies 
ache to be calmed, cooled and retuned to whim.
We swim under water, holding our breath, 

carefree as children playing at forever,
though we know we must come up for air.

About the Author: Richard Levine, a retired NYC teacher, is the author of Selected Poems, Contiguous States, and five chapbooks.  Now in Contest is forthcoming from Fernwood Press. An Advisory Editor of, he received the 2021 Connecticut Poetry Society Award, and co-edited “Invasion of Ukraine 2022: Poems.”  “The Spoils of War” is forthcoming in American Book Review. website:

Image Credit: Herman Hartwich “Cape Cod, Beach” (1894) Public domain image courtesy of Artvee

Cape Split

Across the Bay of Fundy, towards Nova Scotia, as seen from Fundy National Park, New Brunswick

Cape Split

By Tobi Alfier


Cape Split
      Cape Split is quite literally the “end of the world”
                                                                         Google quote


Pain is like the prenup you forgot to get,
it takes all the sweetness, leaves you
with the pawn tickets. You will never
be able to buy back an unfurled forehead,
true smile and the grace of comfort.


So you sit in the bar, listen to complaints
of other people’s unwanted houseguests,
drink just enough. One more winter
outlives its welcome as you as you lick
your cold lips, search for a warm face.


The weather is ice over shade,
you need an elbow to pity you home.
This is not the first time. The tide is out,
you are resting on mud, you need a pilot,
who knows your analogies are weak

and your pride is mighty. Like a ship asail
with no engine, you pray for wind to lead you
past the soft swell of young lovers to the breakwater
of hearth, to tea and the quiet compass of a stranger’s
voice bidding you safe travels, small hurts.


(This poem first appeared in Sterling Magazine)


About the Author: Tobi Alfier (Cogswell) is a multiple Pushcart nominee and multiple Best of the Net nominee.  Her chapbook “Down Anstruther Way” (Scotland poems) was published by FutureCycle Press. Her full-length collection “Somewhere, Anywhere, Doesn’t Matter Where” was published by Aldrich Press. “Slices of Alice & Other Character Studies” was just published by Cholla Needles Press. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review (