The first thing to hit your nose is decaying papayas.

There's a particular smell to tropical climates in the early afternoon.

A soft pungency to the air, a mix of water, heat, and rotting fruit. It envelops you, presses into your pores, wriggling parasitic into every afternoon.

The still days press in closest. There's a vacuous quality to the space you occupy - air around you pressing in more strongly than it should be. You, acutely aware that the phrase draw breath is wrong. You open your mouth, and that air rushes in. You have to push it back out, occupy your lungs in the name of emptiness, re-claim your body one exhale at a time.

The land would be swarming with mold or insects or fungus or vines except that everything is prey. Most, too, predator. Everywhere, from every angle, you are being watched.

The only shivers of relief are found in the transition lines - land to ocean, ocean to sky. In slivers of tarmac scything through the green, carving an ashfelt DMZ where - for a few years - nothing will grow.

It's heart-splitting.

Here, life on Earth and us - inseparable.

The wasps making a home in the cracks in my table share half of my DNA. The trees rattling seeds in the wind, a fifth.

All of us, strange siblings, living off the sun and scraps of each other. A grotesque and beautiful pile.

Flowers, bright, bold, and beautiful, stretching skyward - from skulls.


Photo by Karl Warren Wilson.

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