Monday, July 29, 2019

Clarinda Harriss


We all loved Jonathan, “Yonathan,”
The new night watchman.
Our rented casa had been built by a drummer
With the Grateful Dead,

And we were sure he too would have offered
Sopa de pescada on the patio.
Played something-- drum, cards, charades—
With a new friend as young

As my grandson, who shared with Jonathan
An interest in martial arts.
How strange, then, when my daughter spied
The sweet boy creeping along

The hall leading to our bedrooms, “buscando
Un intruso.” Quizàs, he said,
The one who’d nicked a hundred US dollars
From my grandson’s wallet

The day of the sopa de pescado? The rent agency
Said watchmen were nunca
Permitido to go inside las casas. My daughter
Showed us the loot

Jonathan had abandoned at a side door
in his hasty exit.
It still breaks our hearts to think of it:
A banana and a pear.

Clarinda reads "Intruders in Akumal":

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Clarinda confesses: "I had a profound sense that in many ways my family and I were intruders in that gorgeous place near Cancun where only narrow strips of land separate pristine bays and lagoons. We all ended up feeling terribly sorry for the young night watchman we thought we had befriended and who did, indeed, turn out to intrude and rob. (It later developed that in fact it was he who had stolen $100 from the wallet of his "new friend," my grandson. We still felt sorry for him.)"

CLARINDA HARRISS is a professor emerita of Towson University. She has overseen BrickHouse Books, Inc,, for almost 5 decades (going strong).

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