White ghostlights and black
shadows. Smells everywhere—wood
smoke and poverty and fresh paint
and fuchsia flowers. Riding in the back
of the cattle truck feels like flying. Sunrise
is sudden, but dusk lingers. Cumulus clouds
that sit on the mountains like snow. A village
full of houses that once were bright. Children
who gather in the dust at your feet, calling,
“My friend! My friend!” trying to sell a bracelet
or clean your shoes or braid your hair.
Her smile is radiant even though that tooth
is rotten. Dust flows like water here, and water
is treasured like gold. You are stared at
everywhere you go. You could run and run,
but you’d never find your way out
of these sugar cane fields.