Outside ocean condominium gates

Philippine grannies

in black silk pajamas and blanched cone hats

nest on grass in threes and fours

in the shade of oleanders

fanning their faces with palm branches

they’ve brushed over fantasy landscapes

of groomed zoysia.

Since sunrise, they’ve swept, raked and bagged,

squinted at delivery trucks coming and going,

couples in golf carts, newlyweds on bicycles,

tots in designer shorts skipping ahead

of tourist mothers

through gardens of bougainvillea and hibiscus.

Even as island winds litter the resort anew

with sea grape leaves, pods, trimmings and trash,

ancient pick-ups slide to a stop over dry buds.

The sweepers rise in a flurry on handmade thongs,

flock into corrugated truck beds to be carried back

to downtown shanties, squat, heads bent for naps

before hanging laundry, sweeping cracked floors,

steaming rice for the evening meal.


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