I wrote this as I sat in the restaurant in the Kinam Hotel…downtown Petionville. The heat, lord the heat…my primary occupation was to find a way to escape it.
The woman meeting me for lunch today was late.
But the larger faux pas was mine.
I leaned my chair further back from the table
Until it pushed against the railing
At the edge
Of a balcony,
Overlooking a crystal clear
And the day smothered me
In heavy blankets of heat,
Just like every day in Haiti.
I removed the linen napkin,
Placed deftly onto my lap
By someone who apparently had not noticed
That I had lost interest in lunch.
I just wanted a closer look,
Just a little closer
To the vacant
How cool it must be in there.
It was the familiarity that moved me,
So suddenly common
Amidst so much uncommon.
Without missing a beat of the siren’s song
Of water lapping on tile,
I slipped out of my sandals
Onto the railing
And leapt into the water below.
So that, when my lunch companion finally joined me,
My carefully chosen ensemble
And single beads of water slipped over my brow
And into my hairline
Following the line down my neck
And tracing my spine.
I shook her hand as she apologized and sat down.
Wishing I had acted on the impulse
Instead of imagining it
As I had
That I could taste the chlorine in the sweat
That ran a river
Down my face.