Thursday, February 17, 2011


Tallulah wants to watch the fishermen. There’s a local man who’s often on the university dock. This morning he was shooting the breeze with a guy from physical plant. They fell to talking about Afghanistan; the fisherman had been there--he described a conversation with an Afghani who had two wives. How do you keep ’em both happy? 

The talk had turned to food prices on the island, the kind of thing that seems like it would foment revolution around here, and from there we arrived at the Taliban, women strung up by the neck on trees outside Kandahar. Can you believe the breadth and depth of five minutes? 

The food here is expensive, no doubt about that. I’ve been to every grocery store on the island now except Jungle Foods, next to the projects. I wheel Tallulah in the cart at a leisurely pace up and down the aisles, checking prices, imagining what might become of the Indian condiments and the Middle Eastern cheese spread if I got them home. Probably nothing much. I haven’t been into cooking lately. 

On the way to Plaza Extra, Tallulah fell asleep on the bus, the kind of profound sleep you might have in an ocean breeze, the suspension bobbing over a few obstacles in the road, sun on your scraped knees. I just kept riding, we’d circle back when the sea came into view, the peaks of St. John across the channel.
We hiked across the asphalt. We walked through the aisles of Plaza Extra covered with stains. Juice speckled the length of Tallulah’s clothes like the fading sparks of a firecracker. I have on a shirt I like, though someone once asked me, Was that eaten by ants? I’ve been wearing the same shoes for a year. But there are some things I’ve cast off, still visible in the distance, and this must be some kind of chrysalis stage, from which I will emerge clean and adorned.