Daniel Blasi

Sestina Written in Key West

When the sun shines on Florida’s furthest rock

Locals say the ghost of Hemingway

Tolls the bells at St. Francis where fox-glove

Unloose their scarlet havocs. Here the Atlantic

Recedes into the Gulf of Mexico and a cricket

Shifting on its fore-legs wakes the kindest of gentleman.

Once I was in love with an older gentleman

Who lived in a Victorian house. He would rock

Me to sleep nightly as the song of the cricket

Faded into morning, and leave a glass of port out for Hemingway’s

Ghost before coming to bed. Often I dreamt of the Atlantic

Wrapping the world in its steel glove.

Here all the roofs are lined with tin to glove

The sun’s heat, and all the distinguished gentlemen

Wear slouch hats when fishing on the Atlantic.

Off this land-spit of stone and jagged rock,

The old man of the sea is not Earnest Hemingway,

But someone with the gentleness of a cricket.

The cloak of sunrise does not disturb the cricket

From its slumber — the pinks and yellows pearl a glove

That grasps at the soul — is this what kept Hemingway

Coming back? I imagine him dressed gentlemanly

In a starched white suit, and his mind a rock

Stubbornly butting up against the Atlantic.

Today not even the choppy-blues of the Atlantic

Can coax my heart — I am a simple cricket

Secluded underneath slate and bed-rock.

And my lover’s eyes are gloved

In a shadow of darkness, he’s a gentle man

But cannot understand my love of Hemingway.

A gun barked through the night and Hemingway

Fell to his knees. Though miles from the Keys, the Atlantic

Stopped churning its silvers and gentlemen

Bowed their heads — one could not even hear a cricket

Chirping and the sun was covered by a thick glove

Of clouds; a cruise ship grounded on a bed of rocks.

In our time, Hemingway could be a black field cricket

Perched near the Atlantic that hammers its blue gloves

Against the shore as gentlemen wash up against rocks.