“If you don’t eat at Breeze,”

the hotel’s concierge warned us,

“you could spend 

your New Year’s Eve

with ruffians!”

What are ruffians exactly 

in Nantucket?

Are they the fishermen 

with long, bushy beards 

who wear flannel shirts & eat at Stubby’s,

or are they the workmen

that come from all the corners of the earth,

dreaming of whales & boats?

Are they the grizzly grandmas

who shop solo at Stop & Shop,

driving their weathered Volvos,

or the waitresses from Ireland,

Thailand & Jamaica,

they miss their homeland

as they pour more drinks?

Are they the shopgirls 

with frizzy hair, 

sharp eyes & fast hands,

speaking in indecipherable accents?

Or are they other poor visitors,

pretending to be rich 

for four nights,

at the end of the year,

like artists, musicians or poets,

who play & perform 

for their supper

as the tipsy audience cheers them on?

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