Outside ocean condominium gates
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.