News item: Pentagon eyes Palau Islands

I remember mornings that were so new they ached and nights Scheherazade was meant to use. I remember velvet water, blood-warm, in all the blues and greens the tropic sun knows how to paint. I remember sable skin, impassioned eyes and melodies, the scent of copra oil on heavy hair, and the legends people whispered of hidden mangrove lairs, of crocodiles and mermaiden manatee. I see those gumdrop islands carved by fish with iron teeth. I feel the flutter of an angel's fin. I taste raw, fresh-caught tuna; mango juice leaks down my chin, and a sunset sprawls there, just beyond the reef. On wall maps, there in Arlington, punctured by pushpins: islands so far west they're where the East begins.

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