for Tante Ursula
For three zloty I pass through the turnstile at Sopot,
walk out onto the longest wooden pier in Europe.
At dozens of booths, amber necklaces shimmer in the wind.
Swans swim in the Baltic, eat crumbs from chattering children.
The white wooden rails of the pier stretch out to the sea.
In 1939 my Aunt Ursula was eleven,I ride a pirate ship loaded with schoolchildren.
A family next to me eats ice cream. Their toddler tugs
on the rigging, clambers on the brass ship wheel.
"Like A Virgin" blares from the loudspeakers.
The ship surges over the swells. I look back at the pier,
stretched out like a road, its white rails wide shutters
in the sun, dark posts stumping the water below.
The swans take to the air, circle gracefully.
*Get back or I'll shoot!