by Danielle Ordonez
The slippers have been forgotten
since daybreak. Waves lap at
my toes and slowly return to the sea,
revealing groove marks that remind me
of zen gardens soaked in rain.
Back and forth, back and forth,
the sea foams up on the shore
and reveals the things thrown
into the sea the night before.
There, a half-buried cellphone
disrupts the patterns on the sand
that are uneven beneath my feet.
The sky is orange and yellow,
strewn over an evening blue canvas
where the mountains block out the sun
to cast shadows under the clouds.
Not far ahead, the fishermen
are readying for the day’s catch.
It is their boats that I hear first as they head
out towards the sunrise.
The water is clearer in the morning and
the small school of fish could be seen
running away from the movement
of my legs as I try to walk further
into the sea. The whole stretch
of the empty shoreline could be seen from a
distance. My body slowly gets used
to the cold as it goes into the water.
By the time the sun shows itself fully,
the beach will wake up again with people
and I will be ready to go back, the wind
carrying me the rest of the way.
Unlike the others, I do not have
the memory of three-minute
rides by tricycles that break
down in the middle of
the dirt road, of a woman
who waits outside the gate
on the way to the house and
offering mangoes from her garden.
Instead, I was left with father,
old age and no patience for heat,
in the comforts of air-conditioning
as we took shelter from the sound
of airplanes overhead while our skin
glowed red with scratches from
sweat during the afternoon.
There is an ice cream vendor
on each stop over we take.
The small mobile stall
has flavors out in pictures,
and we point them to the vendor
who had his own ice cream machine
that can halve any flavor
we want in a single swirl
of the cone under the nozzle.
It is barely the beginning
of summer here. The rain
has stopped an hour ago
and the hot sun has yet
to dry the ground. It is
the opposite back home,
where the floods would come in
at night and the day is
not enough to dry the rain water.
On the street, dirty ice cream
with flavors stacked on top
of each other that are sold
from wooden barrows
melt in the rain. Meanwhile,
the sweat dripping down
our necks stain our clothes,
and the ice cream man laughs,
hovering his hand over his face
to tell us, in a language
we can understand, that
the weather is truly hot today.