From Antigua

The marketplace is down the street
from a hospice for disobedience and
the less fortunate. Boys and girls
play soccer in the lot next door, before
they learn love isn’t a vine full
of berries to carry home in a trug.

The market resembled a painting
called “Still Life with Ants” by
a local vagrant who also painted
beach scenes. The aisles from above
probably looked like Scantron
sheets, all the bubbles filled in by
No.2 pencils. (A test graded right
after by a computer, but the results
aren’t released until you’ve nearly
forgotten you were tested.) I bartered,
over Gallo beer, for a soccer jersey

and humanist morality with a man
who bred greyhounds for racing on
the side. A blind girl sold beautiful
blankets – the Homer or Milton
of street vendors – but I purchased
a Mayan calendar handsomely
displayed by a skull spurting
sunshine like a winter landscape
before the asystole of spring which,
like many things, is never just right.

Jake Sheff