I

a thick fog of dawn cuts through palmetto brush,
lingering its way into caves that spew natural springs. 
a place once believed to be the fountain of youth,
is home to manatees that were mistook for mermaids.

sandhill cranes wade in the murky waters nearby. 
some have been spotted cruising the canal on the backs of alligators. 
feeding on insects and grain, that have found homes between their scales.

the air smells of cigarettes and citrus,
petroleum and salt water.
a thick line of charcoal colored smoke paints it’s way
across a peach sky.
remanence of a shuttle departing our atmosphere.

if you stand at the edge of the jetty, 
where the waves collide with coquina,
the horizon seems infinite, and forgiving. 

dirt roads turn to interstates, 
billboards reveal themselves from the undergrowth.
vacancy signs illuminate rain slicked overpasses,
offers for continental breakfasts and color tv’s.

you find yourself wandering the isles of all night retail stores,
and twenty-four hour diners severing al a mode peanut putter pie.
Cigarette machines akin to juke boxes, 
dusk slicked, half stocked, time capsules. 

a guy on sixth street claims to offer a discount to-scale Paris.
even the locals are tourists, paying for the experience.

it’s evening, 
the sun is setting.
the gulf echos forgotten tribal hymns.
fishing line tangled along the shoreline reminiscent of holiday tinsel. 
the noise of the city has been deafened by the waves.
remove your clothes and walk out into the water,
let the current take you past the buoys
face the shoreline 
glowing with intrigue.

people will spend their life savings on a discount dream,
for you it’s free.

II

moire patterns caught in screen doors,
the smell of sun block and coconut.
dripping chlorine laced sweat over glass topped counters,
i massage your peeling sun kissed skin in aloe.

sturdy like an old house

like children
we share our thoughts openly,
without barriers.
my heart is firing faster than my brain
as we count the mississippi’s between lighting flashes.

i’m trying to name you

crickets and toads orchestrate the evening
as palm trees play tennis with the dying sun. 
i close my eyes and click my heels
pretend i’m floating in violet.

dragonflies of the night dance freely
silver wings drenched in summer rain 
they glimmer in the street lamps below

Morning light runs itself across creaky wooden floors
and up my back
I still feel your breath on my shoulders
like fog cresting a hill

everything about you is peripheral, temporal.
little thin bristles of a rose.
you asked me once “If you were to paint the world ending, what colors would you use?”

my answer is 
whatever I can fit into the sun