Old Man from Tlacochahuaya

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Old Man from Tlacochahuaya

His skin
is heavy and thick:
the leathery pelt
of a working animal.

His bare feet
poke from the scratchy
leather of rough-hewn,
home-made sandals
carved from auto tires.

His toenails are iron claws
gripping the earth:
a climber’s spikes.

When I examine them
they seem cut off from the man
as if they protruded
from a bestial hoof.

I imagine him horned,
tailed, and bearded,
leaping in a bright red
devil’s suit
through black smoke
and orange flames.

Water is the bond
that binds the earth’s poor,
so I offer him
water from my bottle.

Then I see him sparkle
and his eyes are as clear
as the water he drinks
from the bottle I gift him.

Brothers across
artificial frontiers
we shake hands,
and now we are one.

Watered,
he is my friend,
my true amigo.

“Where are you going next?” I ask.

“Nowhere,”
he shrugs.

“I am just happy to be here,
squatting in this line of shade
that protects me from the fierce
knife-blade of the sun.”

13 thoughts on “Old Man from Tlacochahuaya

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