Waiting, Watching

Waiting, Watching


Freight crate skeletons nailed into rotting walls
weak wooden bones, stenciled Cafe del Ecuador
roof-top shack, watching over Quito's
cobblestone streets, cerca la plaza de central.
Sun slips between slats, warming rainy morning
peddlers gather in mist, their echoing chatter rises
auto bus exhaust, mixing with panaderia's aromas
scattering night's dreams, in old man's sleepy head.
Kerosene lamp lit, blackened ceiling absorbing light
single gas burner heating water, damp cold cloths
bean can coffee cup steaming, warming bony fingers
eighty-year-old joints' grimacing, pop into proper place.
Navigating cracked tar roof, cane confirming worn path
silent decade since wife's death, captured in mornings
pidgins' rise, angles sweeping toward tower del campana
la montana de Maria, pushing clouds with snowy peak.
Across la calle foreigners sip exotic beverages in el cafe
eat fresh bread, speaking briskly in confusing tongues
espanol awkwardly accented in ingles, frances y aleman
ordering orange juice, bloody mary y cubano libere.
Turistas buying wool blankets, leather jackets, fedoras
dropping their new dollars into rusted tins de la pobre
littering Incan streets with cigar butts, gum wrappers
haggling for deals, demanding two for price of one.
Old man recalls piling stone upon stone for city walls
herding and shearing sheep, dying and weaving wool
working loom's wooden pedals, levers and yarn block
dancing at todo de fiestas, bleeding for pennies an hour.
Past la grande iglesia, where new pavement covers earth
beyond ancient buildings, plastered into twentieth century
lay colored lights of Burger King, McDonald's and Pizza Hut
swallowing his world bite by bite, while he waits, watching.


by Darwin Pagnac


Contributors retain all rights to their work. ©1996 Kaleidoscope. Write Place. Volume 7.


URL: http://leo.stcloud.msus.edu/kaleidoscope/wait.html


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