Friday, April 2, 2021

On waves of aquamarine

On waves of aquamarine


at twenty – found myself in a white dress

father at my side – in an alcove heading

down an aisle that had nothing to do with

who I was or what I felt and no –there was

no little one pushing the walk – simply in-

explicable inertia at least inexplicable now

things were different then – I was different

then – went along to get along and there I 

walked – every road has a reason – this one

led after several months of the blurry groom

finishing service duty to a honeymoon – one

of those packages advertised on Thirty-Fourth 

Street, NY at Liberty Travel. The Virgin Islands,

almost aptly named – three islands one sleepy,

one with ‘night-life’ and one in the middle – 

I, a would be hippie Goldie Locks chose the 

“just right” middle – deplaned in a pale linen

sheath and Jackie O sunglasses in St. Croix

and as the doors opened was sucked as surely 

as Alice down the rabbit hole into wonderland.

I was home – frangipani filled my head – my

heart slowed and recalibrated a new rhythm 

as I walked down the plane steps I shook off shoes – 

in love with a place in a way that excluded my shorn

headed compatriot with the matching ring and his

distinctly different and wildly mecurial temperament.

But, that was that road – patently perfectly different

from the ticky-tacky houses of surburbia lined up 

on Long Island or Scarsdale that I foresaw with

chilled foreboding marching me onward on a conveyor

belt to my eventual plot in some tree laden stone garden. 

I had escaped … and stay I did, we did, - the marriage

surviving on the nectar of paradise – the brilliance 

of crimson flamboyant blossoms, bougainvillea and

crystal waters, friends with sail boats and cold wine,

crayfish pulled from the water, a job offered teaching

little children, eventually a baby of my own – a huge 

German Shepherd dog that ran free as childhood Lassie

a perfectly pointed Siamese cat rubbing my ankles -

sitting on a terrace nursing the child and watching

swallows swoop at sunset – uncaring when corrected

that they were bats after all – day after day unfolded

each presenting another gasp of agape wonder at

postcard beauty … as the baby stood and toddled

and the fellow with the matching band – sometimes

lost it and smashed something or needed ice for

his knuckles when they met my teeth – everything healed

quickly in the clear salt water, in the laughter of friends,

folk music on guitars, reggae dancing barefoot in the streets,

steel drums, and motorcycle rides through the rainforest – 

until he grew radically restless and needed to leave – began

the drumbeat that grew louder minute by minute, month by 

month, until suitcases packed I walked the plank to the plane 

into the open arms of family who mostly, but for one never 

understood why I had chosen to stay away – 

Every road has its destination – that one to inexpressible beauty 

and fruitfulness seeding the implantation of certainty that there 

was always another way, another road – another time -  

The matching ring cast to the wind with its wearer -violence it seems

does not melt easily in the cold New York winter – replace flamboyant 

blossoms with bare limbs of scrawny trees – in one of those neighborhoods 

escaped for just enough years – and one cannot help but see what is plain –

Another road, books, and libraries, papers and writing, trains, and teaching

teens, listening to the uncanny wisdom of a small child growing into the man

I knew he would become, friends, cold white wine on summer beaches, walks 

in The Village near grad school and more grad school, rushing home to sweet

little boy hugs and games, snuggles and hot chocolate and marshmallow snow days and when he visited family, allowable lust, oh that allowable consummated consummate lust. This jiggling path, from folk to disco, from fairy tales to Faulkner to Freud side by side with motherhood, and more big slips of paper for framing, letters to trail my name. Finally, a friend, with a centered center, unexpected love,

ready made children, a birthed book, and another and another with my name on the spines - This forsaken, forced upon road, this just long and windy enough road to build a career, a life, and feel the poetry of Caribbean warmth flooding veins in the coldest of days – moving forward on new roads – fed on with wisdom of that first footfall placed decisively on a path that felt right – continuing on all the others – that followed, all the others that continue to flow – to flow as clear as the crystalline confidence of the Caribbean sea – rocking me to tomorrow trusting in the path.  


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