Returning – the long flight to the capital, then to the beach,
The palm trees, the taxi, dirt road, dogs asleep,
Long benches, table warm in the shade of the house.
Both of us, that irretrievable afternoon, happy there was time to talk.
It could have been a cornstalk color, her blouse –
Something soft and thin, dappled by the light.
Recounting lost loves. His self-mocking laugh, scattered insight.
Her divorces and displacements, the men dead to rights.
Napkinless sharing orange slices; a sweet and sticky kind of place.
The sea pounding all night, and the next day beside the tear-shaped pool she had
A bit of sadness, a bit of God’s grace;
Her face asking how exactly would be best?
Displaying – the faded brown towel and top loose on her breasts.
Would he extend a hand to help her up, or descend to lie
Next to her?
Had she been Beth or Susan, Lucy or Karen?
No address, the manager said, had been left in any case.
Her sun-traced shoulder had been warm back then
As they watched a gray hawk twirling, and then . . .
About more than her alone he was wondering why.
She had gotten dressed again, with another sigh.
— Poem and paintings by William Eaton
Perhaps some readers will enjoy appreciating how the latest school year begins here on Montaigbakhtinian with 3 R’s and also how this poem is not too far from The Ballad of Don and Dee. Indeed, I have pictured the four characters of these two poems as all finding themselves at the small Mexican beachside hotel where my son and I once happily stayed, some time ago. Before, poor boy, he joined the work world.