Paradise Imagined


    If I could have it any way, if I could have it anyway.  I'll get up at daybreak in Honduras, walk into the turquoise water—naked—and float, then swim, be strong enough to swim for hours, to dive under without the snorkel, to weave between the coral reefs, watch the garden crusted caves where purple red and yellow fish peek out from hidden recesses then slide back inside, like a magician’s trick, they play hide and seek, their bubbles and mine float up, silver beads broken from a bracelet. Tiny fishes, looping banners of silver, streak toward me and then pass between my legs, across my silhouette. 

    I will not wear sticky sunscreen. No need. This is paradise, and I am old. I will be brown as sizzling butter in a pan, golden, warm, and I’ll never burn. 

    In this world when I walk out of the water I’ll feel as light on land as on sea. My right foot will not drop or drag or be dead weight. I’ll shake the water from my body as if I were a dog.

    I’ll eat a hamburger for breakfast lunch and dinner. Sometimes I’ll have biscuits and gravy and four eggs sunny-side up. Then other days I’ll have cheese grits and crispy bacon. I’ll never have kale. 

    There will be a parrot that comes from the jungle, that flies out of the surrounding rain forest that has not been logged to death, but still throbs with secrets. The parrot will come like a guest and preen before me. This parrot will be bright spring green with yellow and some red. This parrot has wise eyes and often tilts his head this way and that as if looking under a bed, and his neck feathers ruffle as if fine silk bunched then laid flat, revealing a rippling incandescence. 

    In this world every dog from my past, every dead and gone dog, will return. They will all like each other and run in circles around each other while making joyful sounds, each with the remembered growl and bark.

 Each one will come when he or she is called. 

I’ll say Come. And they will.