Photo by Catherine Brousse
For Ivan, Eaten by the Tropics
In the moonlight, all things seem ordinary.
Even the backyard ylang-ylang loses its yellow
and pales by comparison but is not so pale,
the sweet, pee-smell of its blossoms is overcome
by night blooming jasmine, each white star,
and the once-green rustle of its leaves darkens
behind the coquí's froggy insistence. Long after
the blood had thinned, we could still hear
the warfarin pop of the mouse, delicate
in the amapola hedge, and the warm air ripened;
the roots of the benjamin laurel writhed, broke
through the cement sidewalk where you once
wrote our names with a stick. Around us, the heavy
narcotic scent of inchoate hope. We couldn't parse,
let alone spell out loud the intricacies of desire.
We were, what? fourteen? --and still breathing.