Postcard from the Cusp of No Way Back

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.

What are you looking for?