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The Time Tourist

"to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect." ~ Anaïs Nin

The Cocoa Beach pier still stands, on sand
where Spanish sailors once sank to their knees,
grateful tears salting their bearded cheeks,
and debris from the torpedoed SS Laertes,
washed up onshore like so much driftwood,
and later stupefied crowds stood
on this splintered bridge to nowhere
watching the first rockets launch
into the unknown from Cape Canaveral.

A wooden spider web of boards beneath,
and on the other side, a glimmering portal,
beyond which I glimpse the flutter
of a white dress like wings unfolding for flight.
A lone woman faces the ocean, her long skirts
clinging to her thighs like remnants of a shroud.

Her ocean roars like a lion
let loose from a too-small cage—
but here the tame surf laps at my toes,
long pole fishermen uncoil their lines,
the first surfer plunges into the waves,
and hotel cabana boys unfold
candy-striped umbrellas and chaise lounges.

I try to make out her features,
but the rising sun on my side blinds me.
Her sky grows dark and lightning-streaked,
wild winds whip her dark locks
into a frenzied life of their own,
but still she stands vigil like stone—
she must know that nothing can reach land
through those churning waves, not then.

I turn my gaze back to my paid-for peace—
the sun’s a golden disc sipping from the surf,
pelican shadows veer over me—like her,
I wore white once and waited for my life
to return from the sea—but the sea
that gave life once gives nothing back now.
Only I, who pack years in my bags like souvenirs,
can arrive, leave and come back, unchanged.

 

El Turista del Tiempo

"se saborea la vida dos veces, en el momento y en retrospectiva." ~ Anaïs Nin

El muelle de Cocoa Beach sigue en pie, sobre arena
donde en otro tiempo marineros españoles se hundieron de rodillas,
lágrimas de agradecimiento salando sus mejillas barbudas,
y donde luego los escombros del SS Laertes torpedeado,
llegaron a estas orillas como madera a la deriva,
y más tarde las multitudes estupefactas
desde este puente astillado que no lleva a ningun fín
presenciaron el primer lanzamiento de cohetes
en ruta a lo desconocido desde el Cabo Cañaveral.

Una tela de araña de madera debajo del muelle,
y en el otro lado, aparece un portal resplandeciente,
más allá de lo cual veo el aleteo de un vestido blanco
como alas que se despliegan para el vuelo.
Una mujer solitaria se enfrenta al océano, sus faldas largas
aferrándose a sus muslos como restos de un sudario.

En el lado de ella, el océano ruge como un león
liberado de una jaula demasiado pequeña—
pero aquí el oleaje manso lama mis pies,
los pescadores de palo largo desenlazan sus líneas,
el primer surfista se sumerge en las olas,
y los chicos cabana del hotel despliegan
sombrillas de rayas y tumbonas.

Trato de ver los rasgos de su cara,
pero el sol amaneciente de mi lado me ciega.
Su cielo se oscurece y se llena de relámpagos,
vientos salvajes azotan los mechones de su melena oscura,
prestandole una vida frenética propia,
pero ella sigue como piedra su vigilia—
debe saber que nada puede alcanzar la orilla
a través de esas olas agitadas, no en ese entonces.

Volteo mi mirada a esta paz por la cual he pagado—
el sol es un disco dorado bebiendo de las olas,
las sombras de los pelícanos pasan sobre mí—igual que ella,
en otro tiempo vestí de blanco y esperé que mi vida
volviera del mar, pero el mar
que dio vida una vez no devuelve nada ahora.
Sólo yo, que empaco los años como recuerdos en mis maletas,
puedo llegar, salir y volver, sin nunca cambiar.



Beatriz F. Fernandez is the author of The Ocean Between Us (Backbone Press, 2017) and Shining from a Different Firmament (Finishing Line Press, 2015), which she presented at the Miami Book Fair. She’s read her poetry on South Florida’s NPR news station and is a former grand prize winner of the Writer’s Digest Poetry Award. Beatriz F. Fernandez es la autora de The Ocean Between Us (Backbone Press, 2017) y Shining from a Different Firmament (Finishing Line Press, 2015), que presentó en la Feria del Libro de Miami. Ha leído su poesía en la estación de noticias NPR del sur de Florida y es una previa ganadora del Gran Premio de Poesía de la revista Writer’s Digest.
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