Thursday, August 16, 2012

Laura Farina


It was hot.
Much of the food was deep fried.

I got sunburned
while taking an architectural walking tour
of South Beach.

My toes in the sand
felt like stunted American worms
yearning to be free.
A man in a toll booth told me to have a blessed holiday.
A coconut fell from a coconut tree.

The sun turned the sky the colour of a mixed drink.
I watched a Montessori teacher smoke pot.

The thought occurred to me —
we are all dangling above the open mouth
of the ocean.
It was terrifying for a moment.

A cat jumped through a hoop that was on fire.
Shadows began to look like mouse ears.

When the radio came on,
someone had replaced the songs
with the sound of fish breathing.

I drank sea water until I felt ill.
I lost sunglasses in three historic buildings.
I ate key lime pie in moving vehicles.

In the darkness,
I thought I saw an alligator wink.

When the wind came up, the sand beat a hasty departure.

Floridians like loud shirts
and hair products that combat frizz.
They are an inventive people
when it comes to sorbet.
It’s amazing what they can do with animatronics.

The highway was a line between two oceans
and what was washed up on those beaches
was mine to keep.

All the diners were shiny
and inside them, people called me ma’am.
I became programmed to salivate
at the sound of ketchup bottles
hitting formica tables.

A cruise ship pulling out of port
seemed too large to float,
an island severed from its umbilical chord.

I never once thought about soup.

Laura Farina is the author of This Woman Alphabetical (Pedlar Press, 2005), winner of the 2006 Archibald Lampman Award. Her work has also appeared in This Magazine, Arc, and elsewhere. She lives in Vancouver, where she teaches creative writing to young people.