Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Woman in pink bikini

On a Saturday afternoon in June
I walk the streets of Málaga.
I stop to take photographs; the humid heat
has barely begun, and already I feel slowed
by these beginnings of summer.
The walk takes time. I pass a ship in
harbour; take relief under the broad avenue of trees
along Paseo del Parque.
I phone South Africa, wanting to go home early.
I shout against the noise of the city’s buses.
I walk, hot, backpack heavy with
camera, snapping desultory photos.
The sun is white and harsh. I’m not capturing what I see.

Along a promenade by the beach the
palm trees pattern the walkway.
It’s lunch time. The beach restaurant is packed
with people as I pass, there are oily cooked fish smells.
The beach is full of clusters of people, friends, or
family in this tight-knit society.

Beneath the cold beach shower, a woman stands,
her voluptuous body wears a pink fluorescent bikini.
She could be me.

I watch. Her boyfriend takes her in his arms,
encircles her waist,
they’re both smiling, laughing.
Loved, in love, his embrace is gentle,
full, all encompassing.
I watch like the voyeur I am now, here.
It goes on. Water, beach, the shower spills, they
laugh and move away.

My photos show the blurred, pixelated images
of two people in love, embracing.
But they were taken too far away, or I used the wrong lens:
you can barely make out the couple on this beach in June, lost
among the family groups.

I’m anonymous in black jeans,
did anyone see me looking?
I doubt it.
They didn’t see me with camera,
mouth pursed tight.

(Published on www.southernrainpoetry.com)

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