The trip along the southern part of Mexico was meant to be four weeks, but I only made it to two before I asked him if we could go home after one more week. Were we in Puerto Escondido when I asked? It must have been around then, just after Huatulco and before Acapulco.
Home for me was Ohio, a land of soybean and corn fields, red barns and grey barns, summers where the sun hangs until its out of breath in the horizon. Nothing like the beach towns of Mexico, the little motels with tile floors, the high and crashing surf, the white and gritty sand that stuck to everything, the sun that drenched.
But it wasn’t exactly the place that made me want to go home; it was something I could not name but felt, a kind of loneliness that is unexpected, a shiver of a shadow, an undertow below calm waters.
The translation for “escondido” is hidden.
I know that I was in love then, but now I also know that at some point later I would no longer be, and that the loneliness I felt in Puerto Escondido would never quite go away, not completely, even after we got on the plane, even after we drove back on my familiar streets, even when we again knew the language, even a year later, when we made promises to each other that would later swelter in the sun and burn to nothing.
I wrote this poem years after the trip. Thank you, Change Seven, for publishing it as well as two of my other, newer, poems. My favorite of the three, of course, is not the one about trying to find comfort in a place so far away, but the last one, which is about finding comfort in the everyday.