You are never still. Your streets pump
with noise: chochos* rev their engines,
bars blast beats until
marauding megaphone voices
try to sell us blenders, cell phone minutes, pirated DVDs.
I fear I will never blend into your streets.
Red hair and pale skin is
usually the most interesting thing passing by.
I may never blend in,
but that doesn’t mean I will never belong.
Now more and more faces see me, know me
as more than just an anomaly.
The eyes of the bread baker, the fruit seller
now meet mine and smile, their lips move
in murmurs of greeting.
For so long – before the industrial mining, before so many came to exploit you –
you were just one street.
The people lived by yucca, plantain,
Mining with their bateas on the riverbank.
Now it’s different.
Now I ask, how can your land be so rich
and your people still in so much need?
There is much I don’t yet know about you,
things I see but don’t perceive,
things I hear but don’t really get.
You are full of hope –
in your church
in the crisply pressed uniforms of school girls
in your airy new library
in the resilience of your people
in the chance to call you home.