Primal Spirits

It was my fourth and final week in Costa Rica.
I was 12 years old and there with my best friend's family.
More on my own than I'd ever been.

Iguanas resting on rocks, bats crowding the trees, crabs parting along the shore and I was Moses parting the red sea with a stray dog lingering behind
swimming pools, monkeys, Chiclets for sale everywhere for a few colones, terrible sunburns, ginger ale,
the magic was dense, we moved around a lot

One night I watched a dancing woman turn into a spider right before my eyes.
We ate crab right from the shell
They seemed to always be dancing

Another time Rex, a five year old blonde kid, fell from the top tier hot tub and cracked his head on the cement below, pool level. Tim and I were the oldest ones there. Tim scooped up Rex, covered in blood, and carried him back to the adults while I watched over his older brother - a seven year old. I can't remember how, but a massive loogie is a part of that story. A lot happened in Costa Rica.

It was my fourth and final week in Costa Rica, like I said,
there was a woman at our table
she was the center of conversation
a very old witch
and we were very lucky to be friends of her friends.
She addressed Tim and his little brother and I
One after another she guessed our astrological signs
She got all three correct
Smiling at us with her strange Costa Rican genius
She told us our birthdays
Precisely to the day
And again we nodded with frightened humility

the adults were laughing
they always laughed in Costa Rica
, they laughed while white water rafting
, they laughed among the hornets
and all throughout the rainforest, they
laughed while spiders clacked about
trapped in aluminum pots

in her heavily decorated, wrinkly hands
below the table and in her ancient lap
the old witch held our passports

After My Glorious, Dreamless Infancy

The closest I can get
to the essence of childhood —
that season of shallow fractions
is an unforgivingly early
morning — the dull eyes burning
with the lingering heat of a campfire 

The invisible birds chirping
with no knowledge of
my bedroom 

Setting the alarm clock
is the saddest video game
my fingers ever play


There is a special kind
of joy when something
doesn't happen 

Especially something you
spent the whole day
thinking about 

When these events disappear
your expectations are given
back to themselves 

Like an audience member on The Price Is Right
who neither won a Kawasaki jet ski, nor
suffered the embarrassment of an uninformed
estimate on the cost of Gordon's Frozen Fishsticks