Saturday, August 13, 2011

For Deva, from Cozumel

Lafitte's ghost haunts Cozumel.
He belly flops down water slides and wades
in pools of five-star hotels plundered
and left to molder behind chain-link fencing.

We skim waves and scan the reef below,
where brain coral tends the mass grave
of an ancient, lost, magical world.
Schools of fish genuflect on the current,
their skin like liquid mirrors aglow with prayer.

When my strength ebbs against the tide,
we swim towards the beach, a faint whisper
of death in my breath. At that thin line where
beings become things, the sea offers up
her gifts: A sea turtle paddles along the bottom,
as perfectly graceful there as it is awkward on land.

Later, on the road to Ix Chel's temple
altar, blue, red, and yellow crabs
sidle from marsh to marsh across macadam.
We enter the sacred precincts by car,
but those who sought birth or carried seeds
in baskets across the water
journeyed on jungle paths past
Jaguars and fiery lizards in the ferns.

At night, I watch from the hotel porch
as locals mix bait and throw their lines
from the ruins of a concrete wharf next door.
Iguanas inhabit the basement now,
scrabbling through rubble for bread crusts
that waiters and tourists toss, amused
by their power to brew saurian ferocity.

It seems we were lucky, then, granddaughter,
to spy dolphins breaking waves off shore.
May the imprint grace your smile
years from now, a small thread
of light twining itself into your life's sinew.

copyright 2011 Charles David Millee

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