Walking Backwards to the Tropics
Richard Boada

He lies facedown on a white mattress,
a helix of stitching, jacquard and paisley,

with arms crisscrossed at the wrists. His neck
is as tight as a military officer’s in a pressed

and buttoned shirt.  In the dream he does not write
to her. There’s petroleum on his tongue possessing

his language.  He negotiates terms,
conditions for surrender, and some things

important to them before. But the colors in
his mind are lava, mint, and cadaver-skin

gray waiting for autopsy.  In the dream
he refuses her, but she’s a freighter

on an Andean highway twisting and
self-propelling toward the tropics. 

She’s a poet’s lyric stirring backwards
from the precipice, a crushed letter within

an envelope, a galaxy, a Bachata, and their bodies
were once continents scrambling against torsion.   

Originally appeared in Country Dog Review, 2012
and The Error of Nostalgia

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