Thick woven ropes stretch across the dirt road,
speed bumps embedded in the packed earth
jolt the car to a crawl.

The tanned guard silently rises from
his stool, drops the slack rope barrier
ushering Americans in, out.

Local Mexicans walk the steaming path,
lizards skittering as they pass, from hotel
to highway, where they wait for buses.

In town, they ride weather-beaten bicycles
jerry-rigged to carry crates of vegetables
or two, three, perhaps four people.

Back up the road, miles from the city,
Mayan workers construct thick-walled resorts,
vacation homes for visitors in cars.

Their world shrinks as they build
walls that separate those who walk the road
from those who come to stay by the ocean.

Their water view reduced to glimpses
and to the hidden turquoise cenotes,
lacing the forest deep and yet unclaimed.

Keeping watch on the dusty road, Carlos
greets us from the open air lobby,
leads us behind the pristine walls.

Down walkways, past manmade pools,
turning a corner to a deck lined with chaises,
the ocean spread magnificently before us.

Within the cool sanctuary of our room
we open the sliding door to the pool,
let in air from the rolling ocean.

We sleep to the rhythm of waves,
the gauzy curtains blow, offering occasional privacy
from the man who tends the pool at dawn.

In the clear hot morning,
the beach too rough for swimming
holds astonishing beauty.

Three, four steep steps down to the pebbly sand,
Hawaiian shirt straining over her seven-month belly
the waitress hesitates, slowly descends.

As we gaze out at the sea,
French toast, huevos rancheros balanced on a tray,
she asks Mas? if we’d like more.


Ann E. Wallace

Ann E. Wallace

Ann E. Wallace, PhD, is an Associate Professor of English at New Jersey City University, where she has served as the Coordinator of both the Composition Program and the Writing Center. She has published on traumatic memory, loss, and illness, as well as on her teaching practices within the composition classroom. Her work has recently appeared in Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy, Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, WordGathering, and Mothers Always Write. She earned her doctorate in English from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a master’s degree in Women’s Studies from Rutgers University.