As I step down from the chicken fluttered bus
I'm hit with a blast of popcorn bag heat
opened directly into my face and I glide through
the cheek and jowl streets with
tangled knots of aromas from street market stalls
I feel life flow back into me(!) as I
grow nearer and remove my aviator shades
perching them on my head with my left hand while
my right hand confirms a lump of faded colonial pointed nose men
aiming towards the bar recommended by the fuzzy diced
1995 caprice classic taxi driver with a broken air conditioner and
I see fleshy tropical shirted gringos appearing uncommonly popular
at Las Diablo.
She holds eye contact for 5 glorious seconds
and slides through perfumed air towards me
and I rewind to a time of
cars and lakes and
and beery mirth and
soft touches and the freshly packaged
newness of youth that the counsel of
my years will not surrender
and I become intoxicated by the whole
damn thing and soon we are
stumbling into the sharp edge of the city
through dying light
past corrugated iron and angry graffiti.
We are sniped by well aimed stares of
lost possibilities from women whose
arms are thick from lifting children.
Their eyes have no flicker.
These things cause
our buzz to fade a little
and we become less tactile as
we reach a concrete squared house with a
sleepy hammock and mongrels and dusty children kicking a ball
and a grandmother slowly and silently lifts her face
towards my mumbled greeting
but her hands continue their soapy toil.
I find myself in a bare bulb room with a
picture of Jesus that I remember from childhood Catechism
on the wall and an old iron post bed with thin sheets and soon
I see this:
The symmetry of her face, close up, is melting.
Her lip curves slightly up on the left side as
does the right. Matching almond eyes
with a brow of gentle waves and laughter that
occasionally breaks into flashes of
A child is conversing in the
next room in animated tones playing with
a (formerly) blonde one armed doll who is
competing with a tube tv
broadcasting a Brazilian soap opera.
A rooster crows, a reggaeton
car thumps by and the
street noises converge
into a disquieting hum.
We shift from grip to grip to grip as
a tired oscillating fan moves slowly
left and right and left, as if
(Reprinted with the permission of Burningword Literary Magazine with the permission of the author)
Tony M Walton