In the opera house, they are chanting
Death to North Americans in a Spanish
Even I can understand, so I don’t stop
But continue up the road to the shrine
Where a woman weeps holding her child
Like an expensive package. Roses are blooming
In the square though twilight has come
And the vampire bats are flying
In and out of my room on the second floor
Of the crumbling hotel. The pool is crusted
With algae green as smuggled emeralds,
The electricity unreliable as the promise of a lover
Planning his exit, his beach house, his
Younger woman. Turkeys wander among
The thatched huts, a child offers me
Bitter oranges. Women grill red snapper
As the stars emerge from their dens,
White faced and fanged.
The heat is almost unbearable.
In the morning, we leave
For the pyramids and temples.
The cisterns clogged with the bones of virgins.
Rattlers coiled in the arcades.
I lie under the sheets while the bats
Circle the rafters. It has been years
Since I knew how to pray.

Image credit:Marv Watson

Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, Gargoyle, Pinyon, Little Patuxent Review, Spillway, Midwestern Gothic and others. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She has published 21 books including  Selected Poems” from FutureCycle Press which received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize and “Ribcage” from Glass Lyre Press which has been awarded the 2015 Kithara Book Prize. Three of her poems have been featured on Verse Daily and another is among the winners of the 2016 Atlanta Review International Poetry Contest. Her newest books are  “Carnival” from  FutureCycle Press, “The Seven Heavenly Virtues” from Kelsay Books and “Her Heartsongs’

from Presa Press..  Colby is a senior editor of FutureCycle Press and an associate editor of Good Works Review. Website:  Facebook: Joan Colby. Twitter: poetjm.