digital art: ralph murre
WOMAN ON THE ROCKS
by John L. Campbell
Caribbean breeze sweeps white sand across
at a villa overlooking the rugged rocks bordering the
On my left, a purple profile of
cowers under clouds,
and north, the tiny
floats like a
gray battle ship. island
From my perch on the isle of Vieques I sip hot coffee and watch
a woman fish from a rock the size and shape of Moby Dick.
She's lean, muscular and wiry like a sprinter, a soccer player,
a tall, willowy Olympian in short-shorts, long legs and naked feet.
A tattoo of a purple-blue dragon peeks from her undershirt,
white against her tan skin shimmering as she twirls
a fishing line like a lasso glistening in the sun, a cowgirl,
arms akimbo, trying to cut the lead stallion from the herd.
She tosses the line and it sails up and out like a snake in flight,
the weight, then the bait, kiss the turquoise surf and sink deep.
She taps a cigarette from a pack, cups her hand and lights up
with the skill of a seaman on deck with the wind in her face.
Her smoke drifts upward, I inhale her breath, its tobacco aroma.
Who are you woman, where do you live, with whom do you sleep?
Perhaps we could meet between cinco y siete behind the stacks
in the library, or in a booth behind palms at Fat Jack’s Café?
Motionless, she watches the water, a bucket her only companion.
I want to climb down to those rocks, ask what she's using for bait,
ask what fish she’s caught, would she welcome a man's company?
~ first published in Free Verse