to people swarming around the parking lot that
is mine. When we untangle into Guate’s streets,
I wait for a green light with a goat herder and
his nine goats. I count them twice. The owner
of the hotel cooks banana bread and keeps an
It smells and sounds like a jungle. My window
a Mayan woman is dressed as colorfully as the
to tell her, but I don’t know how to form words
in her language, and I’m unsure of my language.
The common ground is a mango. I buy one
on metal poles as urinals. A man glares at me.
From a glass jar, she pours out
a quetzal’s worth.
NOTE: "A City" calls for social change on global and environmental scales. Quetzals are rare tropical birds with stunning feathers. The quetzal is also the currency of Guatemala. "Centavos" is a Spanish word for coins or cents.
Airica Parker’s words appear most recently in The Fiddlehead, Lalitamba, Mountain Gazette, Antipodes, and Skidrow Penthouse. The Poetry Foundation selected her as a 2011 finalist for a Ruth Lilly Fellowship. "The City" comes from Body Bridge, poems that seek common ground between external and internal worlds.Author, performer, instructor, and healing artist, Airica makes her home in Colorado. Learn more at airicaparker.com.