- Portrait in Salt and Dusky Carmine
As in childhood, the gentility of verandasand gardens, of tea and its trappings, made meanxious. But it took very little time for oneto disappear from that world. The cane fields
that separate civility from the rough shorelineallow anyone, upper crust or field hand, to disappear.Down one of many dirt rows, the line cut as straightas the cane planted on either side, one rushes
from the cultured world to an untouched one.Out of the cane fields, out from its wind-rippled leavesshepherding you onward, one finds the sandand sea awaiting as if discarded by a retired god.
The setting sun’s red and orange fingers tried,unsuccessfully, to reconfigure the seven shadesthe water’s varying depths reflected, but allthat changed was the sea foam once white now pink.
The English painter, who visited here once, wrotethat the daily gaudiness of this sight made onelong for the nuance of dimming light at duskas it smudged its charcoal over a Hampshire field.
All I can say is it takes a certain temperamentto prefer a sunset in Hampshire to a sunsetin the Caribbean. I do not have such a temperament.I prefer a scene that requires oils instead of charcoal.
The shore empty, the sun no longer visible,the water’s colors finally succumbed and darkenedto night, the same as that settling over us from above.Not the sunset, but the time following sunset: [End Page 82]
the day’s Technicolor displays erased. Aloneon the soft sand, the surf mumbled the old language.Like my great great grandmother who visits mein dreams, it said: Salt or no salt, trust no one.
It is difficult for one like me to disregard the seaand the cane fields. I am perfectly aware this placeis no longer my home, but the sea says Truth is truth,and the cane field says Like the machete, you belong to me. [End Page 83]
C. Dale Young is the author of five books, including The Affliction (Four Way Books, 2018), a novel in stories. Four Way Books will publish Prometeo, his next collection of poetry, in 2021. A full-time physician, Young lives in San Francisco.