At the start of Sandy Hook, two towers stand,
a panopticon of the Jersey Shore,
New York’s amputated skyline one way,
the sea down to Wildwood the other,
and inland,
houses, roads, Princeton whispering its serious talk
across from the next state,
and the school trip late in the year,
the heat already setting in,
and so many of them certain their lives will really start in the fall.

The teachers and parents sit in the shade on the periphery,
looking out over the heads
of the students sitting on towels in the grass.
They don’t want to make the climb
up the towers for the better view.
They just want to sit there
in the blistering sun
letting it touch them everywhere they can,
seeing how much skin
they can get away with exposing.


Laura McCullough's third collection of poems, SpeechActs, is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press (2010). Her second collection of poems, What Men Want, is out February 1 from xoxox Press with blurbs by Hilda Raz, Denise Duhamel, and Kurt Brown. Her first, The Dancing Bear, debuted in 06 with jacket blurbs by Stephen Dunn, Li-young Lee, and BJ Ward. In 07, Mudlark published her chapbook of prose poems, Elephant Anger, and she won her second NJ State Arts Council Fellowship, this time in poetry; the first was in prose. She has an MFA in fiction from Goddard College. In 07, she attended the Summer Solstice Writers Conference, went to Bread Loaf again as part of the Social Staff, attended the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference and the Vermont Studio Center. Her work has appeared recently or is forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Harpur Palate, Guernica, Crab Orchard Review, The Oklahoma Review, Perihelion, Anti-poetry, Tusculum Review, Hanging Loose, Pebble Lake Review, The Hiram Poetry Review, Gargoyle, Iron Horse Quarterly, The Hiss Quarterly, The Pedestal, The Potomac, Nimrod, Boulevard, Tattoo Highway, Gulf Coast, Hotel Amerika, Poetry East, The Portland Review, and others. Her book reviews have appeared in such places at Webdelsol Review of Books, The Potomac, and Small Spiral Notebook. Laura is a doctoral candidate in poetry at the University of Essex.

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