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.
Two small shrimpers, aging yet able,
Secured for repairs toward the end of the dock,
Spark brief fancies of high sea daring do
In passerby who’ll never try to depart.
Returned from their night run
With outriggers high,
The catch unloaded,
And their crews scattered wide,
Shrimp boats rest easy,
Mirrored in the still waters.
She arrives deliberately early,
Predawn darkness, doors now unlocking.
And middle-counter blocking,
She studies the specials,
Her eyes slow-list descending;
Hidden under her breath, tasteful recitations
Of the more fulfilling respites.
Sailboat swings in midnight’s breeze,
Rocking the crew below to sleep.
Waterfront buildings light the quay
As eve gives way to Christmas day.
The sun rises over the Matanzas Inlet,
Washing the facades of the waterfront shops
And stirring the family asleep below deck.
First gift of a good morning.
The weathered window is shuttered
And the potted plants untended.
Still, that unknown and unseen within
Conjures an awe-full image.