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At Costa Maya, in the Yucatan,
we walked the yellow jetty from the ship,
with throngs of other visitors, to see
a tacky shoppers’ mecca, with a mall,
a plaza, palm trees, piles of souvenirs,

sweet alcoholic drinks, and, for the ill,
a pharmacy with drugs at cut-rate price.
We wandered in the crowd, just glancing here
and there, not getting money out, but keen
to hear the language we had studied, girls

together. Cries and jostling drew our eye,
with “Ah!” and “Oh” and clapping. Flying men,
it was, in harnesses and tethered to a pole,
who, forced centrifugally outward, spun
somehow in beautiful formation—birds

dispersing in a round, but still a flock,
pursuing one another. “Ah” and “Oh”
again! We stood, admiring, then strolled back
along the pier, all sunny, spirits high
in friendship. So ephemeral, so light,

against the pull of gravity, of death!
Now you are gone; disease surprised you, quick,
a knife. I picture you among the fronds
of heaven, upraised, no harness, no trapeze,
but planing gently in the azure, free.

Catharine Savage Brosman

Image by davidpinter, licensed via Creative Commons. Image cropped.