Entonces (and so)

You follow someone down a broken street
beside a field of broken stalks.
Dust flies around you in the falling sun.

You arrive in a place that seems familiar,
a place you know you’ve never been before.
There is a church and a hill and a tree.

You step through the doors of the church
and smell a thousand candles lit in the morning.
Wax drips down the wall in white ribbons.

Entonces (and so)

You follow the back of someone you barely know
through narrow passageways stacked with
mangoes, candles, bananas, shoes, coconuts, corn, papaya.

You follow someone into a house not knowing
who might live there. You eat what is offered,
tasting the tangled flavours of gratitude and guilt.

You calculate how far your northern currency
could travel here, how many meals, how many mouths,
exchanging hunger for hunger, need for need.

Entonces (and so)

You sit in the shade of a pine tree watching a woman
who is watching her sheep. She wields her stick
when they wander too close to the new-planted corn.

You fumble with unfamiliar words
feel the loss of speech, loss of conversation,
loss of articulation like the hard ground under you.

You listen to her hands, her eyes,
her bare feet in the dry pine needles.
You listen and you listen and all you understand is the wind.

Entonces (and so)

You climb from a riverbank to a high place in the mountains.
You let the donkeys and the children pass you on the path.
You stop beside the white flowers of a dying tree.

You wake in the moonless night
and wrap yourself in dark blankets
to sit beside a shrine.

You wait for signs.
You wonder about your purpose.
You witness a resilient mystery.