Puerto Plata

by Jeremy Flick

My father’s favorite coffee can only be bought
in the Dominican Republic. I think the bitterness
comforts him and reminds him of the simple life,
how the rolling Indiana rain sprouts seeds
from its shapeless soil and the country—
roads reach past the horizon. Playing basketball
and praising God. Drying clothes on the line
after falling in the fishing pond. No desire
to move on from the highways and tractor—
towns. A Midwestern community where
Broadway Street is the main thoroughfare
with a single stoplight in the center. A place
whose celebrated landmark is a ridiculous pink
elephant wearing glasses and holding a martini,
where nothing changes and everyone becomes
stale, like vivid dreams abbreviated. A place
where people get drunk or go to church, sometimes both.
Doesn’t everyone hate their hometown?
Once I stepped off a plane in the DR,
the heat surrounding me, humid and overbearing,
spread a film on my skin like a glazed clay pot in a kiln.
I was a newborn, my umbilical cord severed somewhere
over the Atlantic, discovering the world outside
my womb. The busy airport streets were lined with guaguas
holding sweaty passengers. Primo, the driver, awaited me
and my companions, jet lagged and sleep deprived.
He drove us through the mountainsides
on narrow streets hanging off the ridges like a tree
growing from rocky cliffs, its roots clinging
between the cracks. The sunset cast ardor
above the peaks. I would have been okay with dying
then, speeding past families of four on a single
motorcycle, careening through mountain-towns.
We arrived at our house in Puerto Plata after the moon
settled in its place. I set up my mesh tent on the roof,
a cocoon with windows toward the sky. The roosters
yelling and donkey’s heehawing replaced the Indiana owls’
hoos and leaves’ brushing. I had never slept
as well as I did laying on that roof in the cool breeze.

Jeremy Flick is native of Indianapolis, IN. He currently holds a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from Ball State University and is a MFA candidate at the University of Kentucky. Jeremy’s poetry has been published in The Birds We Piled Loosely and The Broken Plate. He is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Poetry Wolf Press. His website is: jeremyaflick.com

Photo by: Ana Prundaru