For R

I watch the weather where I was
and where I want to be;
too cold for summer, too hot for winter,
too comfortable to be close to anywhere.

I’d stood at the sea’s entrance and
seen the smudge of Africa, nine miles
close, not knowing your blood, that it flows
from the other side.

So that’s why the words zanahoriaazúcar, taste so
sweet and alfombraalmohada, feel
like home.

But you wouldn’t understand.

Between a figment of memory
and a fragment of imagination
I begin to invent the past,
explain the future,
making the present a gift;
making it magic.

I crossed the Atlantic, dipped toes into the Pacific’s
east, Oriental Miss Columbus me.
Meanwhile you were on the west coast
of another kingdom.

We were strangers then.

Lean in, listen keen
to the drumming of my heart: that
all along this was a call
for you to come and take
me back to your Mediterranean Sea.


Header image: Emilio García. Aerial view of a beach in Tarifa on the southern tip of Spain, barely 14km away from Morocco.

This poem was birthed when I bought some Moorish-inspired coasters at a homewares store. It led me to ponder my fascination with the Mediterranean and the whole piece came together fairly seamlessly as I drew together other half-thoughts about my zig-zagged way from Spain to South America and the wanderlust that lingers with me still.

For non-Spanish speakers: zanahoria = carrot; azúcar = sugar; alfombra = carpet/rug; almohada = pillow. They’re all Spanish words of Arabic origin.

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