Paradise

by Jack Myers

In a program called Survivor Man,
the host, after drifting five days at sea,
washes up in paradise: there’s your coral reef,
the blue lagoon, and exotic colored birds
bouncing on palms in the balmy wind.

Later that day, he finds himself
under a pan frying sun
among humongous cockroaches,
flesh eating crabs, and fins
scissoring the island as if it were a cutout.

This paradise looks familiar, he thinks:
the woman he gave up everything for;
the career that turned into paperwork;
the crazy family life that left him hoping
for a quiet retirement.

So what is paradise?  The longing to leave?
The leaving itself?  In the end, Survivor Man
tosses a message in a bottle out to sea.
It floats for years, then washes up in a place like this.