A man pushes a cart.
Papaya beckons me.
I don’t know
Which is louder—
The color orange
Or his nasal call?
Đu đủ! Đu đủ!
Waiting for my guide,
Sticky sunrays
Gather strength.
My shade umbrella,
Its ellipses of primary colors,
Recalls a beach ball.
His— glossy blue plastic,
Wooden spoke broken—
Shades the fruit.
His bowl-cut
Fails to cover him.
Hair so black it’s blue,
His part bakes
To an amber crisp.
With the back of my hand,
I wipe dry my temples,
Dust off red toenails,
Tan feet longing
To return to lazy coast.
So much sweat—
His face, the papaya,
The bottoms of his feet
Stained orange
By soggy clay
That suctions sandals
With each step,
Feet cracked
From years of peddling
Through cycles
Of wet and dry.
So much water.
How dare I thirst.