Against the coast of Isla Holbox,
During whale shark season,
In the light of late afternoon,
The sea lay flat and turquoise.
Hand cast their nets in wide scimitar arcs
across the shallow pools,
torn flags refusing surrender.
I sat in the shade of our balcony
With a red beer can and a shot of tequila
the color of raw gold.
You slept inside.
A machete rung against the trunk
of a coconut tree.
After midnight, we'd lay against the sheets
And listen to the lizards run into the glass door.
It had been dark for a long time,
My next step did not involve you.
"This isn't real," you said.
"No. It's not."
My cigarette smoke crashed
and spread across the ceiling.
"It could be home," you said.
"Did you hear the guitarrista tonight?"
You bunched your eyes.
In those long moments before forgetting,
Belief was something I shared
With the whore at Isla del Colibri
But for different reasons.
I learned about long days dying
like the last fires of earth,
While my heart played dirty pool
against the tides.
William Hastings lives in Pennsylvania and works for Farley's Bookshop. He has an MFA from Pine Manor College and his work can be found in Hanging Loose, Boulevard, Akashic Books' "Cape Cod Noir" and Fray Quarterly.