The Doves Seem to Croon Tippy Canoe Tippy Canoe
—Baracoa and Boca de la Miel, Cuba
1 Rain falls overnight cleansing heat and dust of day susurrus song on the pillow. Travelling news greets morning airlines suspending flights a case of coronavirus at home factories and daycares closed the mantra of self-isolation repeated and repeated while the sun rises above Baracoa island town of ocean waves and mountain breezes. You feel a bit like Robinson Crusoe. 2 Woodcut visions of medieval plague bodies stacked and dangling from carts emaciated people leaning from balconies cross your mind before you quickly wipe them aside.
3 Walk miles of ocean shore to lounge upon a sheltered beach. Eat uva caleta grapelike berries from the tree of Columbus’ cross. Crack almond shells with a stone. At the small fishing village of Boca de la Miel listen to riffs of Spanish voices drift across Made’s verandah devour fried platano sip ice-cold cerveza walk home to your casa on Calle Maceo close to the malecón.
4 From your small balcony roof-top high you listen to doves cooing in their dovecot tippy canoe tippy canoe a rooster crowing. You wonder if you’ve slipped into Alice’s rabbit hole. Night’s rain has emptied clouds. The sullen sky has changed to blue. Time flattens like a Dali watch. The doves sing their haunting song.