Where are the high rollers? The snow-bird fat glitzies? The puff puddings?
Who's left with me here in Key West... here in paradise empty?
Mo's onion soup is gone north where they grow garlic.
So's Jeff and Donna and Bill.
Jimmy Buffet... sold his house... sold his voice.
I'll tell you... at noon it's quiet here.
The bellmen sit with their red hats off, sweating from heat... not work.
Starched white pockets empty and asking for fives and ones.
Restaurants wear signs: closed for the season.
The sun burns hot on your hair - makes you squint,
run from central air to central air.
The sea is blood warm.
Don't eat the oysters till September!
And miniature jellyfish - itchy sea lice have come to Key West, our
And then there's me.
I am a probe... a cypress knee... a climbing chalice-cup antenna sent up by mother earth
To see for her... to hear... to eat and do her feeling business
And send back the evidence spiritual email to ground
Send goosebump sensations to mama's earth, in her sound-dirt sleep
There are only a few of us probes now.
And those of us left art blunt as bleached concrete
The others have all gone North.
While the sea is clear and pulse warm and heavy with bacteria
It's my job to notice the trees are in heaven with bloom
Jacaranda by the library flower purple under the moon
They say, Hi Mom!
Royal Poncianna sends red flowers over her streets
and honysuckle bush fights frangipani for rights to mama's nose.
But I want to thank God
And God's mother. (Holy mother of God!)
And God's sisters all dressed in gardenia white
uncle wind and auntie night.
I want to thank all God's fishing buddies and the big blue fish.
And I want to thank the dirt and ground for growing things
That are home to worms and micro-organisms and the concept of fertilizer.
I want to thank all you seeds for shucking your husks, and you clams and
whelks for showing off your siphon legs.
And don't forget to thank water.
I love the rain.
Also by Dale Dapkins:
Alpaca Potato (short story)
Hemingway Days (short story)
I'm Getting Divorced (column)