Travel notesIssue 09 | May 2010

How to Lose Ten Pounds in Ten Days or Less

by E.S. Fletcher

If you’re fortunate, this happens while you’re in a beautiful place. A place where you can leave the windows open to hear birds singing in a foreign language while waves pound away at the pier. A place where your bed faces the balcony so that in your fever dreams, you will believe the long-dormant volcano is shuddering or the stars are blinking Morse code messages for you. A place where your own personal reclamation crew of ants—hundreds of them—will descend out of nowhere to make your porcelain altar spic and span.

You wake weak but triumphant. The lake breeze blows over you. Bees are pollinating the explosion of bougainvillea on the veranda. And you can hear the lanchas passing, one of which will take you someplace where you might trust the food again, if you can tolerate the pitch and roll of the waves. You feel purified in some way. Lighter.

That’s because you are lighter. The mirror shows you’ve acquired a gaunt, heroin-chic appearance. Your pants of truth are sliding over your hips though you’ve cinched them up using the last notch in your belt. You wait for the petite Maya porter who will assist you by carrying your large American-sized pack down the steep volcano slope. When you make it into town, you’ll seek out the leather smith to pound a new hole in your belt for a few quetzales.

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About the author

E.S. Fletcher has been carrying on a torrid love affair with Guatemala for five years. She recently cheated on her beloved by visiting Panama, and she plans to cheat again by visiting Paris in the springtime. She will return to Guatemala, contrite, later this year. Despite her two-timing ways, E.S. is completing a book-length love letter to Guatemala. She earned her MFA in Writing at Hamline University in 2007.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok