Poetry from St Croix
It is a furiously humbling experience
to be helpless before the gale
and exposed without cover,
knowing that cotton takes roughly a millennia to fully dry.
Even though I know that skin is waterproof,
in the moment it is hard to envision a future
where water is not dripping salt and sweat
into my mouth,
even if I know that just such a future
lies just minutes over the horizon
beyond the rain haze that blurs the twinkling city lights.
My shirt clings to me ever tighter as the storm waxes wroth;
the heavy fibers seem to cower from the far-off flashes of lightning,
from the thunder which is never heard
Freshwater tears course unbidden down my face in forks and rivulets,
washing away the sand and grit and anger as I trudge through the blowing sheets of broken glass.
And then, the inconceivable future dawns, and as quickly as it had spawned, the downpour abates,
leaving behind a sodden figure plodding slowly
through the newly-dappled sand.
"Freshwater Tears" was penned after being caught out in a flash thunderstorm while patrolling the beaches of Buck Island for nesting sea turtles.
Behind these hazel eyes
are deep pools of memory.
These wells of liquid glass
recall all too well
the tears these eyes have shed.
These eyes remember.
But look long and deep,
and you will find no tears for you.
No, the doubt and fear
you see are not your doing.
The tears of grief and sorrow
were not shed for you.
These eyes have wept
no bitterness on your behalf.
They remember frustration and disappointment,
but not because of you.
They have seen anger and regret,
but not by your hand.
There is pain in these eyes, yes.
But you did not plant it there.
These eyes have never cried for you.
Night after night, we traversed the beaches, waiting for the turtles. In between patrols, sometimes ideas for poems came to me. "Hazel Eyes" is one of those poems – about love and longing, distance and reassurance.