A Poem By Alissa Quart

Summer Haven

At the summer party you are toasted
for not destroying your own home.

Power tans itself, roasts another rack of bream.

There are no real people left here, says an engineer.

The oyster shucker is the truest philanthropist.

I want in, in.

“Imagine meeting you at the beach!” she says. But we all went to the same college, after all.

That woman won a prize for her conventionally bitter memoir. Drinking ginger and lemongrass blend. A colostrum-like caramel gelato.

The only notebook to be found is of cream-colored handmade paper: deface such pages with my pen?

“House poor.”

Blonde buried her boarding school brand beneath her island tan. A Sanskrit tattoo, a wampum pendant. The rock festival circuit now her final prep school extracurricular.

Affordable housing for the fisherman and his wife, the assistant?

Maybe next year. Class is a steady paddle on these dunes.

My family name is no name. Handmade
perfume oil with pepper notes. Sword
fish, a 12-dollar hybrid fruit. The cover
up 100 percent cotton hiding mortal bums.

We can’t afford to own our adulthood.
Or are we houseguests in adulthood?

Sedate comforted plover protected but not from plunder that started with the Indians.

Crème fraîche from the happiest cows; lavender to be hand-harvested.

There is the best children’s book collection; here the lake combines with the sea.

Buoyed by netting of private schools;
nettled and consoled by origins.

Everything can go
on the grill.


Alissa Quart is the Executive Editor and co-founder of the journalism non-profit Economic Hardship Reporting Project. She is also the author of four books, including BrandedRepublic of Outsiders, and the poetry book Monetized. Her next nonfiction book for Ecco/HarperCollins will be published in 2018. She is also a columnist for The Guardian and has written features and op-eds for many publications including The Atlantic and The New York Times. Her poetry has appeared in the London Review of BooksThe Awl, NPR, Columbia Journalism ReviewThe Offing and elsewhere.

The Poetry Section is edited by Mark Bibbins.