Demolition in the Tropics

Rogan Kelly

All week, I watched her try on other men with her eyes. We were at a couples’ resort, no longer a couple. She was on a path of self-discovery, and I was blocking her view of the sea. She said something like that, but less dramatic, over umbrella drinks beside the ocean, while the waves crashed against giant slabs of sun-washed concrete and a Jamaican wrecking crew took sledgehammer to walk next to the empty gazebo that was also going but didn’t know it yet. Her eyes and tone did not match the scene: teardown set to Bob Marley. She looked as though she loved me for the last time. The next morning, we packed to leave. She kept buying me things in the airport, as if to send me off with parting gifts: a polyester green t-shirt, a wooden pestle and mortar, bobble-head Usain Bolt. I shuffled past the empty seat next to her to the back of the plane—nary a side-glance. The unfamiliar view of the back of her head obscured by the drink cart, a man stretching his legs, the steward holding the oxygen mask like a noose in case we all go down.


Rogan Kelly is a writer and educator. His poems have been featured or are forthcoming in Bending Genres, The Cortland Review, The Citron Review, Diode, Edison Literary Review, formercactus, Hobo Camp Review, Meow Meow Pow Pow Lit, Mojave River Review and Shrew Literary Zine. He was a finalist for the 2018 Jane Underwood Poetry Prize. His first chapbook, Demolition in the Tropics, is forthcoming from Seven Kitchens Press.