Going through boxes of old books, you come across
a postcard: here is the president’s summer residence,
the pillars flanked by bougainvillea awash in cerise
and magenta. Here are the scrolled gates, the two
guard houses, the lawn with low foliage spelling
Mansion House. Here beyond the gates where
horses saunter at a distance, is a reflecting pool.
The arms of trees are mirrored there; and the bright
striped costumes of the locals; and the gaggle of tourists
who want to pose in souvenir pictures. They have on acrylic
sweaters picked up at the market (they’ll likely wear them
only once a year); they’re toting tubs of strawberries,
carrots thick as their wrists, bundles of straw brooms.
Vendors will try to sell one more box of peanut brittle,
one more carved man-in-the-barrel with a hidden spring.
For all you know, the president’s mother is in the mansion
with her ladies— rumors have it she can outdrink them all,
outdance them all, boogie until dawn in the big ballroom
with crystal chandeliers. Even the skittish horses festooned
with bells and ribbons feel the phosphorescent heat
of here and now. Carve it quick on the side of a bench.
Buy a handful of tinted postcards showing pine trees
and winding roads, before sliding back into the bus.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.