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Postcards

 I'm thinking about you.
What else can I say? The palm trees on the reverse are a delusion; so is the pink sand.
What we have are the usual fractured coke bottles and the smell of backed-up drains, too sweet, like a mango on the verge of rot, which we have also.
The air clear sweat, mosquitoes & their tracks; birds & elusive.
Time comes in waves here, a sickness, one day after the other rolling on; I move up, it's called awake, then down into the uneasy nights but never forward.
The roosters crow for hours before dawn, and a prodded child howls & howls on the pocked road to school.
In the hold with the baggage there are two prisoners, their heads shaved by bayonets, & ten crates of queasy chicks.
Each spring there's race of cripples, from the store to the church.
This is the sort of junk I carry with me; and a clipping about democracy from the local paper.
Outside the window they're building the damn hotel, nail by nail, someone's crumbling dream.
A universe that includes you can't be all bad, but does it? At this distance you're a mirage, a glossy image fixed in the posture of the last time I saw you.
Turn you over, there's the place for the address.
Wish you were here.
Love comes in waves like the ocean, a sickness which goes on & on, a hollow cave in the head, filling & pounding, a kicked ear.

by Margaret Atwood
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