Longing For Atlantis

Bumper to bumper, our 'go home snowbird' tees
drip sweat onto Juan's white vinyl seats.
An hour after leaving her, Miami still rises high
behind us, a giant sooty postcard.

'We've gotta blow this town,' Juan says
for the hundredth time since passing
forty-six Bob's Barricades, fourteen
road workers, two wrecks, and a pink-haired 
lady pulled to the curb, snapping pics 
of a jackknifed Sears truck.

The engine coughs, reminds me
of those dirty old men who hang out
at South Beach to watch the models
change clothes behind oversized towels.

One year we moved to a burg in Georgia,
but the Baptist preacher came over nightly
to pray for this half-crazy Anglo and Cuban
living in unwedded bliss smack dab
in the middle of their god-fearing town.

Later on, we tried Boston, lasting a year,
before Florida's seductive sun again
sirened us back to rest pallid bodies
on white gritty sands until our bellies
were plump with coconut rum and tanned.

The tourists think South Florida is the Holy Land,
holder of the Holy Grail, Mecca of fake flamingos
and pink mansions lined with Mexican tile,
but I hear her creaks and moans in my dreams.

She longs--cries--to snap loose, cut free,
throw a party, taking the snowbirds, the tourists,
the nouveau riche, the Cubans, the models,
Bob's Barricades, the Anglos, and the mansions
down past the reefs, to be remembered in future
history books only as the second missing Atlantis.

Pris Campbell

Accepted for publication in MiPo, South Florida Edition,
Summer 2004

Artwork: Photographs of the Miami skyline at dusk 
and the Art Deco section of Miami at South Beach.

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