Too Long in the Tropics

Tim Hawkins has lived and traveled widely throughout North America, Southeast Asia, Europe and Latin America, where he has worked as a journalist, technical writer  and teacher in international schools. Today, he lives in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has published more than 100 pieces of poetry and fiction and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize (2011, 2017), Best of the Net (2018) and Best Microfiction (2018). His poetry collection, Wanderings at Deadline, was published in 2012 by Aldrich Press.

Too Long in the Tropics

Hammocks and beer and lassitude can only get you so far;
One longs to feel a distinction between mind and body,
between body and air, to know a separation,
that here stands an individual
human, birch, maple or otherwise:
limbs trembling in the autumn dusk,
corn stalks, cattails and fallow fields,
brown underbrush, frost and crows in the half-light,
pine cones, thistles and burning stars,
breath visible, the memory of breath visible,
anticipation and exhalation,
sweaters and sweaters coming off,
off seasons—a lonely baseball diamond,
a swirling wind kicking up scraps in the dugout,
harsh landscapes and the anticipation of change,
growth rings, subsiding and decline,
a definite sense of departure, people and seasons
not just fading from sight,
rubbing one’s hands together,
and this time not in anticipation, but for survival,
hard water, chapped skin, chapped lips,
and not from kissing, but from neglect.

Oh, but have I mentioned how clear
and how cold it can be under the stars?
And the snowfall among the pines?

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