Bernard Henrie


Warm Shores of Jamaica


The frost is down from the snowline
and sits lightly on the windowpanes
like steam from a subway grate.

Once pristine hills above my home
now spoiled with a motor home
parked on a terraced land slab,
the windshield and chrome trim
glint like roman breastplate.

My new neighbors string laundry
that stiffens in odd shapes
forming blank hieroglyphics.

I varnish the deck chair, bird house
and storm windows. I understand
that a young man has stolen
seven billion dollars from a bank,
art thieves are ransoming a Rothko
and one candidate is prepared
to stay in Iraq for 100 years.

My wife asks if I saw the leaves
burning with orange and ruby colors
as though branded by cattlemen.
They fall from the acacias in clouds
absent minded, guileless and wistful.

They fell all morning, blown south
where I'm told there is endless heat
and women wear only their sunglasses
and welcome visitors with French kisses
translated into English.

Submitted: Thursday, March 20, 2008
Edited: Monday, March 11, 2013

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