Always La Gringa

I took the slowpoke bus

which meanders through the tiny villages

edging along the cliffs

with a blithe driver chewing and chatting

and introducing me to terror.

At first the teenaged boys stammered

in their movie-learned American,

“Hey, sexy lady, you betcha.”

I have many brothers and I know

exactly how to convert

a flirt to a friend, and in Spanish.

The older women with chickens

at their feet, and a piglet in a basket

watched closely, at first

pursing their lips until I chastised

the rude boys and demanded their respect.

Then they clucked in approval

and added their remonstrances

to the sweetly cowed young men

who scrambled to offer me

the snacks they’d brought for the long

journey.  I stood out with my long limbs,

the golden hair glinting on my forearms,

even though I thought my dark curls

might, what, fool them

that this young adventurer

casually landing in their backyard

could possibly blend in?

They knew me as I did not —

pinching my pennies and choosing

the cheapest way so I could stay

the longest possible time,

all the while an impossibly rich gringa.

And even so, they opened their cloth-

covered bags and shared empanadas

and tamales, their faces shining

at my sounds of ecstasy.

Connecting with my foreign heart,

by the end of the trip, they urged

me to come to their homes for dinner,

while the boys fought to carry

the bag I slung across my back.

I waved until the bus disappeared

and then set off down a narrow

village street, glimpsing the black

eyes watching behind closed curtains.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: foreign

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Published by

Victoria Stuart

I'm a poet, philosopher and inner seeker. A giver, lover and a healer who studies the heart.

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