When I was in Honduras back in 1996 for my brother’s wedding, I remember one day in the market how a military helicopter flew low overhead, and I realized I was the only one who wasn’t cowering.
Ten years earlier, I spent a semester in Taiwan when it was still under martial law. We foreigners habituated a couple of bars that operated illegally, in defiance of the law against gatherings of more than a dozen (?) unrelated people. I remember when the mafia started showing up and occupying tables in the corner, how all us Yanks, Aussies and Kiwis treated it as a big joke. Why were the Taiwanese owners so frightened? Couldn’t they see that these would-be gangsters had come straight from central casting?
The houseplants sit awkwardly in the garden,
like tourists at some raffish foreign port.
A gust of wind is enough to tip them over
in their ceramic pots.
& they hardly know how to drip.
Insects avoid their glossy, odorless leaves.
After dark, under the stars,
they are the only things still shining.
They send up flower stalks
one week before the frost.