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Saturday, July 11, 2020


by Jeremy Thelbert Bryant

A sign in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Thursday, June 18, 2020, asks people to maintain social distancing on the beach. People are flocking to South Carolina’s beaches for vacation after being cooped up by COVID-19 for months. But the virus is taking no vacation as the state has rocketed into the top five in the country. —WBTW, July 6, 2020

Asked whether leaders along the Grand Strand have discussed limiting visitors due to a spike in COVID-19 cases, Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune told CNN on Monday “not yet, not at this time.”

Not at this time, the mayor says
as though a pandemic is not in the mix
of suntan lotion, bikinis, and waterboards,
as though 1,324 South Carolina bodies aren’t in the hospital,
as though sunshine and sea salt are tonics
against ventilators and final wishes.
How quickly beach towels become hospital
blankets. How quickly sun-christened boomboxes
are replaced with machines that beep out of rhythm.
Visitors will not be reduced at this time,
but will they be reduced in two weeks, reduced
and struggling to survive that one last beach trip?

Jeremy Thelbert Bryant is a poet and a writer of creative nonfiction. He is a graduate of the low residency MFA program at West Virginia Wesleyan College. His work may be found in TheNewVerse.News, Pikeville Review, EAOGH, Anima Magazine, and Prism. He finds inspiration in the red of cardinals, in the honesty of Frida Kahlo’s artwork, and in the frankness of Tori Amos’ lyrics.