Laura Sobbott Ross
In the sea, a boy sings me a song
then asks me to pay him for it.
Shanty doors on inclines
open wide to jeweled horizons,
splendor that no longer distracts,
every blue already memorized by heart,
knotted between strands of whelk and coral
to be worn authentic as Bermuda shorts
by tourist at their starboard brunches.
Don’t tell anyone I told you
a dollar a braid, a woman says,
sliding beads into my son’s hair,
her fingertips weaving themselves in.
Conk shells and cold beer for sale.
Sugarbirds in the flame trees
vexed on nectar, so many stray dogs.
My husband buys saffron and cinnamon bark,
nutmeg whole in a market the color of scarves
that can be knotted in a hundred ways
around the hips and shoulders
of those of us on cruise ships who slept
through the morning rainbows.
We always get by, grins Raymond,
the cab driver, on our way back to port,
where a woman hawks her basket
of homemade tissue paper flowers.
I wish I’d bought more than one.