Gaylord Brewer

Apologia to the Son of a Bitch who Stole My Sandals on the Beach

By the time a wrinkled woman kicked sand at me
beside the spot and a man offered his flashlight
with advice “You can’t leave anything,”
I was shaking my head. Besides, I didn’t trust them,
by then shock had turned inevitability;
they looked like thieves, their dark families 
and friends too, who eyed me as world’s ripest rube.
Perhaps you had watched me chase crabs,
squint at Maxfield Parrish shades of pacific evening,
requisite rolled trousers, calming Cuba libre.
I hoofed the village barefoot, found every sharp angle.
Did I mention only by poor luck and circumstance
was I there at all, chewing on sunset
to recoup hotel and meals, that I’d no other shoes
or a dry shirt? I request: what sort of lowlife
steals a man’s sandals? I dreamt of your dirty feet
in my leather and at morning returned
to study a sandy mash of prints. Partly yours,
no doubt, in fitted Corinthian straps that measured
continents. You’ve no idea. So I wish for you
gangrene, oozing leprous sores, charry stubs, the usual.
But no quick death. Rather, some simple truth —
say decades in your own paradise, hombre,
mortgaged ankle-deep to gringos, who buy a pair
any damned time they please. Walk a mile in those.