venice, fla
An Accidental Vacation
by Michele Hyatt-Blankman

Arms flailing, feet perched
on water-worn piling,
They soldier against
a stiff ocean breeze
in the Florida sun.

Cross-country cousins,
now young men.
Boyish antics, long abandoned, now reclaimed
in laughter, dares, and fist bumps.

Paradise of play fades into sunset.
The funeral would soon begin
Time to race inside, fix ties,
buff shoes, gel hair.

Joy slips in a window.
A cocked cap, goofy smile,
a quick nudge that goes unnoticed.

When the funeral’s over
and parting words are said,
the cousins must leave behind
golden moments untethered by age.
A sad occasion, an accidental vacation.

IMAGE: Postcard, Venice Beach, Florida (1986), available at

blankman cousins

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “An Accidental Vacation” was based on a trip that I took to Venice, Florida, for the funeral of my mother-in-law, a sad occasion that also turned out to be a wonderful opportunity for the extended family to reunite. The sadness we had anticipated; the joy and lifetime experience we had not. My mother-in-law, Iris Blankman, would have been so very proud.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTO: The Blankman cousins enjoying their first time together in many years on the Florida beach hours before attending the funeral of their beloved grandmother. This was taken a few years ago, and they’ve not lost touch since.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michele Hyatt-Blankman has enjoyed writing stories and poems since elementary school and pursued both seriously throughout college, where she earned her BA in English and as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Journalism. Her professional experience has included public relations as well as feature news writing for both broadcasting and print media through the Baltimore/Washington DC area.