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Sorting through mementos, greeting cards,
playbills, I find a photo, focus on the man
with ankles crossed, stretched out
in a rope hammock strung between the hulls
of a trimaran. A knot cinches my throat.
Your smile reels me back to Isla Mujeres.
You wear royal blue trunks, white shirt,
a hat I bought you in Cancun.
Beneath you, mystical lucid waters
kaleidoscope from blue to green
and back again. You have a Coronita
in your right hand, left arm propped
behind your head. I took this picture
just before the captain cut the engines
and the trimaran settled. A suspended
moment of silence as the sea turtles swam
close, performed a water ballet as if choreographed.
We said we’d talk about them for decades.
The next year you died. I put the photo back,
hope to stumble on it again.


Pat has moved thirty-one times in forty-one years, even her closest friends asked if she was in the Witness Protection Program. She refused to comment, except to say she’s in Portland, Oregon, for now. She arrived one week before the storm of the century seven years ago and thought, “Shooties, a person could write in this climate.”

© 2010, Pat Phillips West

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