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Archipelago

This was paradise,
Tramping lazily on island time

Among dark-skinned islanders
In their slow-motion routines,
Their bright garments
And glaring indifference
Rioting in the sun.
We rolled over sun-dappled hills,
Climbing through villages
Sheathed in a silence more profound
Than a true void of sound,
Emphatically illustrated
By the occasional peep
Of mysterious life.
From the hotel patio where I took my meals,
I could watch, framed between pillars,
Swimmers thrashing in threes,
Sailboats drifting into the horseshoe cove,
Green hills like tattered velvet encrusted
With red and blue rooftop jewels,
Blue mountains with white halos,
Like prehistoric volcanoes demanding
The demonstrative payment of flesh.
Up the road, a stream passed
Through the timber, toward the ocean,
Sharing the shade with a veiled dining hall,
Wrapped by a white porch and emanating
Its own joyous sounds and aromas
To bedevil the wood.
Up that road
And past those trees
And over that stream,
We climbed boulders by the hissing sands,
Laughed and dodged photographs,
And followed sailing crafts
With passive eyes.
I trudged that night with Ashley
Off the courtyard,
Through the azure sea,
Under a cherry sunset
Like none I’ve ever seen,
Its beauty competing feebly
With the sight Ashley shared with me
Through water like polished glass,
A daring step toward reclamation
Of a life long overlooked.

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And the white sails of small boats
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Dawn is in an hour;
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The arm stretches
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Hidden

I think, sometimes,
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but that can change on the way
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I prepare for outside.
Rain makes it easier,
bends my eye to the ground,
to the architecture;
turns everything to gold.
The new gravity holds me,
turns the voices into hums,
the walkers into clouds.

But outside my door,
there are voices already,
breaking through planks of wood
that should mean security,
and I’m in their path;
every word an arrow
tipped with poison.

They’re only voices.
They are not harsh;
they do not threaten.
They’re not aimed at me
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hidden from me,
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