No 26 - 2005
The shop on the corner,
Almost hidden between the Deli and the
fruit and vegetable market,
Proclaims, “Health Foods and Sundries".
Sajit Rama smiles from his storefront,
His bronze skin taut and handsome;
Teeth lined as hidden pearls,
Dazzle the eye with their brilliance when he smiles.
Entering the shop, the stalls are filled with hemp bags
bulging with the aroma of tea and spices.
Nuts and candies.
The walls are lined with glass jars of vitamins and tonics,
Moisturizers and creams,
And halfway past the sunflower seeds and aromatic teas
are the thick carob chocolates.
It is here that I linger to buy the bars of goodies
with their bright wrappers,
Protein rich and cholesterol free.
Here too stands Sajit, his wiry, hard-muscled body pushing
through the tightness of his groin,
The long lean lines of his sinuous thighs straining against
the silken trousers.
Ah, he is intoxicating!
His smile is distant and wan, the gaze riveting.
What does it mean?
The shop is eerie, and I am transformed through the sultry
streets of India....
All of the senses attuned to the splendor and even the
squalor of its crowded cities and towns,
Listening, listening for the tinkling of cowbells;
As the emaciated animals wander aimlessly along the dusty
plains whose Gods have forgotten even their Masters.
Sajit, Sajit, whose eyes blaze with the mystery of memories
past, and scan and search with their penetrating gaze
the moments of the present....
He watches as I search my purse for a stray coin to make
seventy-five cents for a carob bar,
Sajit winks and intones in the gentle softness of his people -
“Always you smile... .always you smile.”
“You are verry verry nice!”
While brushing my arm lightly.
There is a tingling sensation that runs the length of my arm
like hot liquid; I linger momentarily, then move quickly away
from his searching fingers while paying for my purchases,
Rushing quickly from the shop,
To return to a world I perceive and feel akin to.
I look back at Sajit as he smiles through the plateglass window,
Past the jockstraps and the space shoes;
A smile that seems to belong to a time implacable
and I am frightened.
In a dash through careening traffic turning quickly to see
Sajit - a blur of very white teeth,
And warm golden tones of bronze.
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