Nicholas Christopher Now you're in the place where the shadows fly, light-years away from this palm forest-- the room I've taken overlooking the Caribbean, parrots squawking at the stars and coconuts thudding to earth. At your old house the garden lies barren; lightning split the cherry trees, black vines choked the azaleas. You were famous for your green thumb. Neighbors brought you their ailing plants, and after a week on your terrace the puniest amaryllis turned prodigy. Your bags were always packed: you loved to travel first-class, to sail south at the earliest sign of winter. I have a photograph of you in prewar Havana wearing a white coat and feathered hat after a day at the races, I remember you were cursed with eyesight so sharp it daggered migraines through your temples. Once, driving in the country, you glanced at a distant forest-- a blue band across the hills-- gazing to sea (these same flashing waters) from the casino balcony. and counted the crows on a single bough. You were first onto the dancefloor when the music started--and last to sit. Before I could read, you taught me poems and riddles, and those intricate parables with the
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 5, 1987
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