Three flights of stairs leave me winded
Still I light a cigarette, lean against the railing and look out over the salt ponds.
The Florida dew is still wet on my soles, mingled with imported white sand.
The grit clings to my swollen crooked feet like scared children.
It is early February and another spring like day at the southernmost point.
Roaming tourists’ cheerily fill the parking lot
A timeworn man with white hair tells a joke, refers to himself as a snowbird and the crowd cackles like the game fowl that live on the key.
Inside, the black girl from Jamaica pushes a cart loaded with towels and toiletries and yells toward the ceiling of an empty hall
Do you see my sweat!
I want to tell her yes,
Yes, I see your sweat!
Yours and every other soul’s that has bled life into this place! I see their tears and perspiration that filled the salty oceans and the ponds that surround us… that hold us here.
Instead I stare at my swollen gritty feet still wet with the Florida dew.