There used to be a man: he sat there a few moments on the edge of the deck in a faded brown jacket, taking in the sun.
There used to be a woman: she came in to look over her daughter’s shoulder the day we came to sign the lease.
There used to be plants we called Bandera Española, all along the right side of the fence: ridged stalks almost dark purple, broad leaves, flowers streaked yellow and magenta.
There used to be a girl-not-yet-a-girl, delivered from the airport in a taxi at sundown, the cool, slim points of her fingers emerging as the window rolled quietly down.
There used to be someone peering out of her bedroom door through the gauze of curtains.
There used to be a house for quarantine built on the anchorage between two buoys, a path marked by bleached stones and shells from the beach.
There used to be a man police had beaten up: one eye bashed in its socket, weeks of streets and storefronts burning. Then today, his dark body found at the bottom of the pool.
There used to be a time when I could take it all in, take it quickly, ride the animal of necessity.
There used to be a time when the window didn’t stick, when the screen filtered shadows that came and went among the faded myrtle blossoms.