A Chaos of Petals on the Ground
31 August 2007
Eyes crawling all over your clothes
and skin, a spider web of glances.
The customs official looked up
and smiled. The tips of his teeth
were soiled. His eyes were black.
You can remember the taste
of mango and papaya yesterday
in the Bull Frog Inn
You wonder if it matters
that yesterday's sunset
was flawless, the sand warm,
the waters smelling of seaweed?
He looks at your passport.
He looks at you. He looks.
You are not black enough, he said.
You wonder if Derek Jeter has this problem.
It helps to be famously famous like Amos
so that skin doesn't matter.
Perhaps. But you can't be sure,
the boundaries are so hard to see
and uniforms and testosterone
and confined spaces make men mad.
The thought makes you smile,
a brief, sort of half way smile
that dissipates the tension in the air.
He stamps your passport, grudgingly.
Maybe it was the half way smile,
or perhaps he has a break coming
or is just bored. It's hard to say.
Or maybe he sees the sunset in your eyes,
the sadness underneath the smile,
the waves, the long red dirt road
to find your father one last time
before he died. Your father died
and the ring of rose bushes in his yard
dropped a chaos of petals on the ground
before you said goodbye.
© 2007, Satya J. Gabriel