Holy Week at Playa Negra

In patchwork Spanish I bought us
two bus tickets to Puerto Viejo.
For five hours a woman’s dreadlocks
sketched elaborate maps
into sweat that buttered my forearm
every time she slipped her baby
upside down to change a diaper
with the grace and instinct
of a dancer. The black sand
burned through my feet while you told me
how to catch a wave. You have to wait
for the perfect one, swelling
like leaking breasts, diving
into the underbelly and slicing
through to the calm.
I’ve never been good
at waiting or ducking, what a heartbreak
to miss the crash. The ocean floor
devoured my face, ate into a cheek,
and filled my throat
with burning salt water.
On the way back to the hotel,
you held my hand and I wished
that it was his, oversized and hungry.
A sinewy man carved a coconut
with a machete
as carefully as a skilled lover
undresses their young darling.
Sand is made from defeated
rocks, bones of fish
and I wanted nothing more
than to drink down my shame
with that bowed-back man’s
sun warm milk.

About the Author:
Jessica Tyner is originally from Oregon, USA, a member of the Cherokee Nation, and has been a writer and editor for ten years. Currently, she is a copy writer for Word Jones, a travel writer with Mucha Costa Rica, a writer for TripFab, a copy editor at the London-based Flaneur Arts Journal, and a contributing editor at New York’s Thalo Magazine. She has recently published short fiction in Out of Print Magazine in India, and poetry in Slow Trains Literary Journal, Straylight Magazine, and Solo Press. She lives in San José, Costa Rica.