You wouldn’t think,
What with the nicely potted flowers
That flank the stained wooden garden door,
And, what with the bold golden colors
Of the distressed garden wall,
No, you wouldn’t think
That the single, bare, and unassuming branch
Visible through the barred window
Would maintain such a grip on my attention.
The sun has cleared the horizon beyond the inlet,
And now, to the rhythm of the nearing street sweeper’s brushes,
The homeless man gathers his things at night’s bench,
And the shopkeepers re-tidy their window displays from within.
Finally, the tour trollies leave their garage,
As the tourists settle their breakfast charges.
Oh, Aviles, brace ye for the approaching wave.
It was cooler here in the covered archway,
Protected from a ruthless sun
And shirt-soaking sticky wet air.
A voice whispered, “Linger here, what’s your hurry?”
But, I was drawn toward the light ahead,
Like some moth to a seductive flame.
Seeking clearer sight in spite of
Sun’s summer fury
Screened door on Charlotte Street,
Rooted in its garden wall,
Offers a glimpse of Eden,
But denies re-entrance to all.
I head north on St George.
Tourists linger still in motels
So I walk unhindered
In the cool morning calm.
As if directed, my gaze shifts
From sunlit fronds
To a shaded area up ahead
Where the street bends to the west
And a vague whispered promise beckons.
For four hundred years and more,
These walls of time-compressed shells,
Designed to absorb English shot,
Excel now in reflecting sun’s early light.
Hugging the shore of Matanzas Bay,
Old coquina walls, built facing east
To scour the inlet for enemy fleets,
Now lay deep in sleep each incoming day.