Postcard from the Cusp of No Way Back
In a country where we dared not drink the water,
the water washed up treasure on the shore:
A Traveler’s Guide to Magic. We claimed
the sodden pages and ignored the fine print,
conjured a cab and fancy dinner, wine
and a hothouse rose. As if we needed another thorn.
We wanted to believe a roving mariachi band
could trumpet away a jade ring’s curse.
We wanted redemption for our island
getaway gone every way wrong—reservations lost,
our plastic cards worthless, no way
in those days to phone home. This was before
the world was so wired and concrete was more common
than trees. Before each storm outstormed the last.
In those days we thought it enough to dream
of marriage, children, maybe a business of our own.
We didn’t imagine our imaginations pallid
and languageless as our bodies in that unrelenting sun.
Paradise was still under construction. Constantly
workers clanged steel on the shell of a high-rise nearby.
The sound should’ve been a warning, but to us it meant
At home the sunnybells sway among stones. We quit talking.
Empty bottles accumulated in our darkened room.
The porter kept slipping amount due notices under our door.