SEA GRAPE for Michael

Written by: Nola Perez

This is not Miami, the real site
of the sea grape.  This is a wannabe--
a biker town, a speedway town.  Not 
the fabled city of Dream Whip clouds
expressed into a flawless sky.   Not
the cool Technicolor dawn when an aging
chick like me could still do her morning
run on Collins, come back home 
to the high rise on the Intercoastal,
where in the mirrored lobby, 
retirees lined up in their wheelchairs 
along a wall to socialize, see
who comes and goes.

Here, in this faux paradise on a Friday, 
morning mass is celebrated in anything but 
Ordinary Time by a Bahamian priest in 
a chasuble the color of winter rye.  There are
no flowers anywhere, only trailing tropicals;
a graceful spider plant with its dangling 
tentacles.  An acolyte brings sacramental vessels 
on a tray, as if to dinner in his own home 
to an altar covered with a simple tablecloth. the elaborate setting of 
the Saint John Basilica, Daytona Beach.

The real home of the sea grape
with its leaves like tennis table paddles
is where a husband hospitalized in Mia
with a failing heart valve lay in
the pre-surgery ICU fighting for breath
as an insensitive nurse brought food
on a tray no way he could eat.

The sea grape is a hardy tree
that reaches for the heights.  My son
in Halifax Hospital is like that: a survivor
of surgery for a metal hip to replace
the one that failed.  Bones---
nemesis of our family, meant to last
but do not.  Unlike the sea grape
whose limbs grown longer,
stronger.  Fail not.