Friday, November 30, 2012

Pittsburgh 2

now the city feels familiar, at least
in parts, the roads I walk on are friendly
like the lady in uniform who holds up the
traffic every time to let me cross
from one side of Federal Street to other.

the effusive salesman at Radio Shack
wants to sell me a service plan with the
recorder... he looks crestfallen when I tell him
the guarantees don’t work in the world he’s
not familiar with; I am only visiting after all.

I go to Starbucks and the cheerful waitress 
wants to know whether I had a good day...
buoyed by the greeting, I nurse a large coffee
for an hour sitting on a high stool and staring
at the world outside...  a woman passes by,
her shoulders hunched, she’s crying softly at
accumulated losses and unanswered questions.

but it is the young school boy, as old as my son
who catches my attention; he dances with abandon
to the delight of the three girls who surround him
two of his companions start to swirl too, keeping
pace with the frenzied beat of his tapping feet, but
one hangs behind and looks wistfully at the 
moving apparitions on a cold windy afternoon.

She is the one who doesn’t belong
She could be from any part of the world
She has been told she is plain.

Vijay Nair

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