tourist attractions in key west

by Madeline Torrez


i. reef snorkel & sail adventure excursion package

duvets of sea slip over
your feet in the peculiar shade of sky
as dictated by sun and moon.
you see sand three fathoms down,
fish shimmy like silk scarves,
scales scintillating
like the silver cobs arrested
in the elbows and knees of ancient coral.

you tell yourself curses drown in the current;


ii. southernmost point and higgs memorial beach

so, you carve crucifix and ceramic
from the boneyard reef,

strangle your hands with loops of gold,
and twine, and iron and
claw yourself an escape to the surface.

you lay your treasure at the feet of ghost-
rot wood and hurricane sheared sails;

count up abandoned shells, lizard-shed
skins, chicken feathers,
and all matter of island debris.

then, at foghorn blast,


iii. historic downtown walking tour

you pick up your towel and shovel it
into your bag with your coins
and your plates and your shells and your limes
and flip-flop smack your way back
past the empty history museum,
and the aquarium with the peeling paint,
and the colony of polydactyl cats stretched out
in the caches of shade along the path

one blast more, a warning—

          the city drains, droves of sunburned
          and sand-dusted cruisers swarm
          the pier with their overfilled bags and
          their damp towels, and
          their glossy postcards, and
          their kitschy t-shirts.

          scuttle up the gangway—
          like gulls from the shore— into
          the steel atlantis that stole the island
          and swallowed it whole.


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