Swing from hammock, the spray
of tropical rain
colonial second floor porch, languid through time
below the white-washed ceiling and the plants that net
the sky ahead gray with glimpses of Caribbean light,
muddy streets, drenched soccer fans
returning from drunken cancelled match,
dark, lean in reggae sound English celebrate
life, not rain or a game, each secondary to moment passing.
Storekeeps cover open-air food stalls,
red beans, rice and salty fish stew in protected pots,
windblown rain sweeps away plastic covers they run to catch,
puddles form in seconds to overtake the potholed road.
She approached from behind gentle,
pleasant, plain, sweet vanilla.
Described the patterns of rain flailing as I stared ahead
closed my eyes to hear the words perfect:
the smells, the noise, the essence,
catching sideway glance of face never known,
not yet seen unimportant to words like river songs.
Later, alcohol mixed with grape juice wine from corner store,
and she was no longer plain.
Sweat room naked hands clutched.
Musk of days and nights, her smile, odor shrouds the room
lighting an embarrassed wanting glow.
When it was finished, she became plain again;
and this is how I fail often.
The morning came slowly, words few,
and we walked with my bags to the docks,
felt her eyes watching, hoping,
wanting my lips to sculpt some words
like whittled carved wood in hands to save.
The ferry moving towards Belize, her figure
shrinking on the shore, in memories never made,
like a drunken fool stumbling down mountain pass,
I turn away to find a seat, and we are gone.