Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I Go Back To Miami

I Go Back To Miami

“Every (other) person is somehow in exile.
Either a refugee from a country or a
refugee from an event..."
--Etel Adnan

The map in my mind
has rolled with waves
a thousand days--
it is bleached
and logged with water
and I recognize
nothing.
All I remember is
a heat that
makes you cry.
It makes you want to
stop and lie down.
It makes you want to die.

Walking near the school
through the oppressive
silence of early morning,
I smell that sick smell
like the saliva of children,
like oily cafeteria lunches
mixed with the smell of anger,
enraged like a mongoose,
furious, sweaty little fists
curled like rattlers.
Amnesia is part of growing up
but this memory feels like
falling down stairs
backwards.

Everything has changed:
brown condominiums
where the Everglades
used to be,
three McDonald's in a row
with tintypes of Seminoles
over each booth,
the maze of canals
filled in, paved over
except for one--
trying to find my house,
I swim through
the thick green water
and find a floating bottle
with a note written in
familiar handwriting,
waiting for me, saying,

“---1974---
You, ghost of the future,
you know what’s
going to happen
in the next five years.
Help me.”
I am finding the street.
I am finding the house.
I am doing this in my sleep.

©JEF 1986

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