top of page

Hoyt Rogers



A scraggly path wavers from the village, angles

up a boulder-warped slope, unravels to seaward


   on bluffs that claw the waves with splayed, volcanic fingers,

   lichened and gnarled: La Mano de Dios, webbed by beaches


each a planet to itself, khaki and rough, pebbly and white,

sifted and pink, greenish and ribbed with shells, the god’s


   glove that tossed us towards the whale-shaped islands,

   swimming half-dazed from these coves, fire-blindered,


lured by the vibrating sun. But today, in this wild-eyed noon, who

would dare? Breakers hurtle against their sandbars like penned-up


   beasts, slobbering offal of coral and kelp. And so we sidle

   down the thumb to Playa Caracol, swerving along its buff,


stubbly nail to a far-flaring spit of powdered sand, streaked

with grey and cream. Assent, yes here no mind-mire slough


   is ever deep enough to cast us down, once we round this bend

   and drink the mountains, inlets, serrated cliffs in a single gulp:


all the flung bay under quivering mists, brimming from translucent,

low-keeled clouds. We mold our singsong pace to the suave curves


   of the palm-fringed bight, weaving past cove after cove

   till we reach our cabin, built by your arms for us to live


a time of illusion, log-pillars lifted, dragon tiles of a two-tier roof,

a mythic pagoda wheeling on the waves, the only house for miles


   of inviolate shore...  

                                   Look, our love is striding with us as a third

   gutted soul: we speed past our tumbledown folly under a fierce


sunburst, baking our bones from within, pricking our skin  

till we breach the two rivers, black and white, darkly bled 


   from mangrove roots, spring-gushed from limestone vaults,

   night-stream, day-stream marbling to dusk at ocean’s brink;


and drunken, reeling in the bottom-muck, we ford the currents

where Río Negro, Río Blanco intertwine with saltwater shoals,


   gates to a coast that billows in sketchy arcs, patchworks of mica-

   speckled sand. Abruptly, a storm’s in the offing: its sooty cordon


swings on the horizon in plait-knotted swells; and though we slog

in clammy torpor here below, far above a whirling, buzz-saw gale


   shreds the clouds into banners of ebbing light. They clarion-blare

   us onward an hour, then flag at Río Frío, the strand’s most hidden


creek, plashing up from artesian wells, carving out over eons 

the trapezoidal pool, ringed by sedges and reeds, where flesh


   eclipsed us as our horse rummaged on, nuzzling the grass

   with her incurious gaze; and eros dealt us an ever-bluffed


mirage as we paddled in the surf, dipped in the shivery brook,

braised on the heat-skewered dunes, till buoyed up by lanterns


  of night we cantered to bed, bareback on our mare, naked

  as the instant we were born, lolloping through quicksilver



           But now, as we plot our drowned, jagging path

among moss-slick stones, whispers from the past flow


   cold, the foam glitters at me spitefully, my memories of you

   straddle my shoulders, beat me down as I fumble, lurch, fall


on the other bank where both of us are only shades;

as I hold your body with all of mine in a final hoax,


   upending the order of years, until we discard

   those sharp-minted shadows cut by the moon


we played on this shore like a game

of hearts, and admit once and for all


   that both of us have lost.

bottom of page