In Mexico, where Americans go

to remember how good we have it,

us gringos watch a young

man ascend a coconut tree like


a set of stairs he’s climbed since birth,

he— a striation of cropped black

hair, naked mocha torso, marigold swim

shorts—slides down against chalky


ribs of the brown trunk, prize in hand,

and I think of how I cinch around

you, rigid tree of your body

with its predictable fruit.


He swings his blade along an invisible arc,

the sweet water spills, and I wonder if instead

you are more like a familiar totem pole

whose terrifying faces reflect my own.

Photo by Mohammed Alnaser