Flagstaff

We cross endless rolling hills

houses dotting the landscape

at every angle: mud houses

straw houses, brick houses, tin houses

each with its vegetable patch

cow, goat, dog or sheep

its multicolored washing line

 

Everyone walking

from there to nowhere

kids, all sizes and ages

in maroon school uniforms

blue school uniforms

green, gray or black school uniforms

 

We cross endless rolling hills

looking for a toilet

a filling station, hotel or restaurant,

the map says Flagstaff

we imagine some colonial corner

a little shade, a welcome break

some coffee, a sandwich, a toilet

 

Flagstaff, market day

a single street

flanked by filthy storehouses

choked with vehicles,

trucks, trailers, tumbledown Toyotas

blocking the road at every angle

a teeming tangle of black arms, legs,

shoulders, faces, lifting, carrying,

grimacing, sweating

loads of crates, tins, bursting  stacks of cartons

we inch forward, reverse, twist right and left

try to find a way through the morass

of revving lumbering diesel giants, then

spying an opening in the maze

head towards it but it is blocked by

a ten ton monster

 

After what seems like an hour

of maneuvering we finally squeeze

our way out of Flagstaff

come out again into rolling hills

marching lines of school uniforms,

continue on our way

with bursting bladders,

settle for an overhanging rock,

a quiet tree

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© Johnmichael Simon

2009

.