The last resort as some wags dub it. And now
for the first time since leaving the mainland
we feel it.  So narrow an approach, the road we're on
seems less a slip of land than a channel of water.

And everywhere the doubling back of life scenes:
herons teetering on one leg as if to remain
prescient of two worlds - this one that warms us
through car glass, and the other a stirring life

submerged. Island of bones. So overwhelmed
were they by life's remains - so many bones -
that de Leon and trails of others found there.
The terrible name must have given breadth

to their worst fears. Ships like theirs
brought to grief by poorly marked reefs
or the lure of a light on a cow's tail.
And after disaster, the call  - but not for help-

among the islanders. A wreck!
Prosperity from ruined ships - a life
no one had entertained. Still, there they were
chasing submerged treasures. A slip

in judgment, perhaps. But given the choice
between limestone too hard for digging graves
or an ocean of  pyramids, who could blame
them - certainly neither of us - for wanting to live?




Copyright © 2004 M. B. McLatchey All rights reserved.
Published in
The American Poetry Journal, Summer/Fall 2005.
Leaving the
Mainland