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Six hours in a car with strangers,
Discussing the small problems of colonizers-
White guilt and tortilla fatigue
Yields an evening in Panajachel
Sibilant with the busy burr of spring rains
On the walk back to the hotel I throw back the hood of my jacket
I want to feel the water on me
Want the benefit of peripheral vision
Two men ride past on a truck full of gravel
And some creature impulse tugs my mouth into a smile
One nudges the other to look
We’re all happy together for a moment
Now the water has formed two rivers on either side of the street
Still, old men sell flutes
Girls sit in the laps of their boys
Young men with stiff hair file past, one plays a harmonica
A thin white dog wades towards food
And my smile spreads its contagion to the taco stall
I don’t know why this night of all nights
It’s so easy to be happy
I know there are sullen children
And old women with empty arms
And war, and chaos, and teeth that won’t grow back
But I’m still full with the impulse to cry and smile, fall to my knees and say
It’s a beautiful world
It’s a beautiful world
And at the taco stall a man whose face I miss
Speaks in English, calls
You are so beautiful
You are sexy, ow!
A world where strange men make fat girls smile on the street–
It’s a beautiful world
It’s a beautiful world.

 

Linda Stansberry is a writer and journalist who lives in Northern California. You can find her work at holyshitlindastansberry.com.

Favorite poets: “I love all the Bobs, Robert Burns and Robert Frost in particular. And Pablo Neruda.”

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