Below the Brac
David Havird

Ashley, who's diving with Susan, later describes
an underwater boneyard
beside a limestone ledge
with rose-lipped skeletons as cenotaphs

and under the ledge
the banquet of conchs' rapacious host,
itself the only guest:
a shifty octopus eye-deep in sand.

Along the ironshore
where I've been looking for shells,
from our friends' house to the end of the bluff
none to be found—no seashells, no evictions.

The snapshots—Susan and Freddie
had only just purchased the lot—revealed white sand
and a jagged shoreline, rusting, washed
by a sedative azure tide,

and inland a stand of coconut palms,
thickets of sea grapes, which squawked with green parrots,
then the steep bluff with its refuge of caves,
the limestone "brac" of the island.

No income tax and no welfare,
Susan marveled, as though her blue eyes
drank-in Eden.  The property's settlement now
awaits the court's decree.

Whenever I'm out in the jeep,
workmen are lounging beside the macadam
amid the poinciana and bougainvillea,
amid the brac's penumbra,

a cast of four whose scythe and machetes
rest beside a red cooler.  I picture
the octopus stirring, a cloud
forming of sand and the shadow of limestone.

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