Primitive Figures

caveart

(internet photo)

Her voice, a gentle breeze
softly turns my ears.
Her eyes, dark waters,
submerge her hard earned wisdom.
A newsprint roll is tucked under an armpit.
Primitive figures on colorful cards she is selling,
dance behind dirty plastic.
She brushes stray hairs from her face.

I smile across our class, our heritage, our histories.
We are two feet apart, miles away from contact.
She lowers her eyes. I squirm in my casual trappings.

I offer money to purchase her cards. I talk too fast,
smile too broad. My rabbit-hopping heart cannot
keep up to my whirling dervish mind. The heavy air is
difficult to breathe.

She chants gratitude, over and over, head bowed.
I tell her, “It is nothing, really, no problem at all.”
I leave, my center hollow,
nothing to redeem me,
nothing at all.