Surely this is heaven.
Cradled in a wooden boat,
We cross over, our cares and Patrick’s phone behind us.
You really want me to get out now?
We slip from boat to ocean, shoeless, laughing.
Ask him to bring out bags to the villa.
That feeling comes up again,
Some call it disbelief.
Pinch yourself, this is real.
Warm sand, tide pools,
Blue and pink whorls, shiny black stones,
Sea glass, broken coral.
Driftwood, stray dogs.
The jungle barely held at bay.
The water laps gently,
I can’t picture a killer wave to save my life.
Our beach is perfect.
Things go wrong in paradise.
You can snorkel, honey,
Rung by rung, I am submerged.
I bob on the surface, paw through a milky web,
pull something that looks like rice noodles from my shirt.
Needles of fire in this aqua splendor,
My collarbone burns, welts up.
I pay a price for laughing with the fish.
Urine is the only thing that helps, the boys swear.
But I’ll be damned if they can pee on my neck.
Hot water chases off the ocean.
in the ubiquitous outdoor shower.
I look for mosquitoes.
Soap, lather, swish, swipe,
dash, wrap, light, spray.
Spray again, spray more.
Goddamn you little horrors.
Damp hair for seven days,
nothing dries around here.
Where is the fan?
My dress is tight, body swelled in the heat,
Skin sticky, salty, resists clothing.
But I squeeze in anyway,
leaving the glamour for the girls in the movies.
A girl at odds with nature,
dressed for another night of pad thai.
friendship sparks in an instant.
Have you tried this lipgloss?
No, but my favorite is Chanel.
Funny, mine too.
We love dogs, kids, books.
We only take green or blue ski runs.
Collecting shells and fashion tips,
Whiling away the tropical hours.
A comrade in arms against the jungle,
She sees it my way.
Sue, I like everything about you,
Especially the way you ride a bike.
Games of skill, feats of strength,
Boys will be boys they say.
Even grown men succumb.
Screw you, with your tight rash guard.
Hey, I make more money.
I’ll race you to the platform.
We’ll climb that mountain without a machete or a guide.
A fistful of thorns later,
Angry, puffy skin.
Maybe antibiotics will help?
Nah, just suck it up.
Boys dream things up,
Fueled by testosterone and lack of work emails.
We’ll pedal to lunch.
No, we’ll paddle.
The best seafood is always around the way,
the hot, sweaty way.
Don’t make me ride over potholes!
Don’t go too far from the shore!
Our pleas useless,
our lunches delicious
You like spicy?
Sure, why not.
Bragging, puffed up, the boys claim they can cook.
Coconut milk, peppers, curry paste, no problem.
Aprons on, wine glasses full.
Soak the noodles, seer the shrimp.
Is that how you use the egg?
Thank God for Mei,
Someone with skill around here.
We gobble it all down,
Geckos eat too, dashing from light to light.
The sun sets orange, glowing.
Dinner in our villa feeds everyone.
Shrouded in nets, lulled by fans,
We sleep like babies.
Mostly, until I hear something buzz.
Goodbye, ankle deep in water,
A kiss on each cheek
And a promise to return.
Going back is as easy as closing our eyes.
Thanks again, Po, for the photos!
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