On a Candelmas Afternoon
A woman with a white umbrella
strolls the empty plaza,
meeting the long-skirted bead vendor
who makes her hourly crossing from the beach,
her tray still heavy after five hours of trudging under the sweating sun.
Palm shadows of a lazy afternoon
brush over, but do not disturb
the sleeping dog who fills the pavement
in front of “Abarrotes Gloria.”
Under its dusty awning on a bench
meant for customers notably absent,
through one imperceptibly cracked-open eye,
the sleep-nodding senora watches for
anyone to stir the calm of this mid-afternoon.
That eye opening wider
as two young men on loud motorcycles
circle the plaza in Izod shirts
from the used clothing booth of the mercado,
leaving a tree-shaking breeze
that filters through shadows
to stir the fine hairs on her arm.
okcforgottenman pointed out that this poem reminds him of Nanci Griffith’s song “On Grafton Street.” Since it is one of my favorites, too, I’ve asked him to add a link to it here.