on a beach in Aruba, a mother turtle’s nest had burst from the cool wet earth, the small animals like wind-up toys propelled along their dark rotor fins into the wave. I stood to see it, it was difficult to find the impressive nature I longed for on the small desert island. Neighboring Venezuela with its Amazon jungle and Orinoco river would have done better, but I knew at 14 I wanted to be and needed to be a poet, and that a poet has to observe nature. Tourists marveled and took pictures with cameras large as their brains, obsidian boxes that relaxed their memories forever, memory was once a muscular faculty. An American man, with maybe a Chicago or New York Italian accent, older with a gray head but muscular under his gray hair and gold necklaces that shone in the faint sun, stood with his daughters to make sure they saw this wondrous procession, the little caravan of shell-reptiles into the water, leaving the island forever. Some foreigners, mostly conscientious Dutch expats, stood in a circle wearing shirts declaring themselves soldiers of Dana, environmentalist protectors, who sat a vigil up at night to prevent the Arubians, the natives from breaking into the nests to steal eggs for their soups. The women stood with crossed arms forming an octagon around the birthplace, the assumption of the little shell-bearers to the sea, their hair brittle from swimming in sea-water but still blonde blew, their faces smiled slightly at the corners at seeing the hatching new life; their beach skirts twisted in the wing like lost kites. Someone announced there were crushed eggs, some of the seaturtles had been killed by the weight of bare feet, luckily none of the new special, paralegal units of Arubian anti-immigrant police had rode by on their whirring All Terrain quad Vehicles policing for the arrivals of immigrants at night, in their neo-police pink uniforms showing muscular brown arms as they sped their four-wheeled heavy motorcycles across the sand. These cops patrolled because the beach lured trespassers, who instead of departing into the waves at day, came floating and swimming in across the black roiling sea at night, after the unmaternal speedboat of the smuggler fisher dropped them with their land-clothes and Bogota-leather luggage in the sea. They would swim ashore to this Aruba, Aztlan, mythical island where the majority of the population were Latinos who spoke a magic rythm-patois like the one in San Andres and Palenque but who had Dutch passports, wearing them luminous like velvet tongues in their pockets, under their necklaces. The newcomers from the mainland also wanted to acquire the velvet of the Kingdom document. Some of them drowned, either unable to swim and not having expected this skill was necessary in migration, or because they did not have time to take off their shoes, clothes, remaining jewels, or their suitcases did not float. Do the smugglers warn to travel lightly? Do the mother sea turtles whisper this to their future hatchlings under the cool sand that nourishes with the moonlight that penetrates through? Do old Dutch crones, lesbians and vegans whisper advice and caress the sand under which the children they will midwive dream of another, better Aztlan destiny?
Some hotel-goers made sad choral moans at seeing the aborted turtle-eggs. The Dago tourist noticed his daughters nearing the radial circle of danger where they might find out or see the scene of where the egg-ceilings had caved in on the unborn turtles. “They don’t need to see that” he shouted. His hands, immense hands with rings pushed gently at his beautiful daughters shoulders, which seemed to have soft little blue and pink phosphorescent feather-down stuffed under their soft, tanned, sea-water purified skin, his hardworker-ethic hands guiding them away so softly they’d think they were animated by their own will in footsteps, away from seeing suffering. His daughters did not need to see or know that there is death, they were already 13 years old. I wanted closeness, contact with them in the water, in the sea air.
There had been an attempt to create a new world without death or risks of mortality. Not by the scientists in their nanotech firms from popular science magazine, but by middle class parents.
How could he try to falsify the world for his children? To make them believe there is no death, no separations? He had seen some of it, I knew this. The girls in their pink and blue swim shorts tight against their 13 year old skin, their black hair wet against their backs, they had been sitting in the sand and their asses where not covered by swimsuit nylon were sand-speckled. Their toes were at the edge of the rim of the loosened nest that had given birth, a lair with hatched empty eggs.
excerpt memoirist beach scene by Arturo Desimone is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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