I am bad at being on holiday
Perhaps it’s the lack of purpose
At home, at work, I have routine
Things to achieve, means of measuring
The worth of my own time and how
I have chosen to spend it. Here?
Not so much. I measure the days
In bug bites, crumbs, accumulating
From unhealthy breakfasts in odd corners.
By gas miles trying to locate a bin
That takes mixed recycling.
I am stumped by the lack of a
Sewing needle to mend favourite
Shirts and skirts torn by errant handles
On rented bathroom doors
Skilled fingers itch in their impotence
Requiring a shopping trip – my own
Personal hell – to a mall where
Every single security gate is triggered
By my keys, the zipper on my purse,
Or some such similar nonsense.
I am forced to empty my pockets
Try to explain in broken sentences
Of a language I do not pretend to speak
While you accompany our child
Whose toilet training seems to err
In the climate, to a gendered bathroom
With me staring down a twenty-something
Minimum wager with an axe to grind
On a Thursday afternoon.
Nothing to find – too bad!
Better luck catching the
Next middle-aged mom
Who may feel some sort of
Vicarious thrill swiping fifty cent
Plastic merchandise – none of which
Can easily be concealed
In a purse or a pocket.
I hate holidays. This kind of crap
Doesn’t find me at home.
In an environment that I can
Kid myself remains
Within my control.
I sweat, try not to scratch
At my bites, my sunburn,
Recall I had to borrow
As mine had failed
To cope with the local temperatures.
We keep being promised rain.
But such a luxury
Fails to materialise.
Night after sleepless night
Trying to ignore the free concert
The rooster and pack of dogs that feel
Some need to duet at the crack of dawn.
My eye twitching at the
Unwelcome whine of a mosquito
Hovering in the tepid darkness
Waiting to feed on this
Overheated foreign delicacy
Reaching for pharmaceutical reassurance
That the never-ending irritation
Will have an expiry date.