I wrote a poem for the Peace Corps’s poetry contest last month. It didn’t win anything, but . . . here it is:
The ayudante sings his song for
Her Bluebird school bus carriage
Transformed from Cinderella-pumpkin-yellow
To Mayan huipil hues of reds, greens, and blues
For her trip to Guate.
The city, the ayudante, Esmeralda
Beckon to the campesino,
His cowboy hat pulled low over
Coal black eyes
Watching his basket of chickens—his life—hoisted onto
The volunteer hurries through Antigua’s market
Smoke stinging her eyes, backpack slung across
With one change of clothes, a toothbrush, and
Her dreams inside.
The ayudante’s call to
For the campesino, for the volunteer,
All bound together on the road to
- Esmeralda is the name of a bus company from Antigua to Guatemala City. They are Bluebird school buses from the States painted in bright colors.
- Ayudante is the “helper” to the driver of the bus. He would sing-song “Guatemala! Guatemala! Guatemala! Guate!” to announce the impending departure of a bus for Guatemala City.
- Huipil is a Mayan woman’s brightly colored blouse.
- Campesino is a man who lives in the rural countryside.