President Obama at Xavier's College, India
I drive a charabanc with rolled canvas sides
from Mumbadevi Temple across water pipes
of the contaminated Mithi River and on
to St. Xavier's College.
She boards at the alley of pearl sellers.
In the mirror I can see the faint rust color
she adds to her lips, the glacial languor
of her wide-set eyes.
Sometime greet me with your eyes
and talk to me with your smile.
She rides only on Thursday so that day I scrub
her wood bench and place a hand-size spray
of fresh iris in the overhead green vase.
The great kettle of Mumbai cools and stops,
pedi-cabs trail like sparks, lazy food smells
break as palm winds at Chowpatty beach.
Her white silence rises to the crests
of the Himachal Pradesh.
I stop whenever the travelers yell
The American President, Mr Obama
spoke at St. Xavier's. The Mumbai-Mirror
says he asked students what they wanted
India to be in 20 years.
She takes her notebook and saddle shoes
inside a lecture hall, maybe a professor
will teach her to greet with the eyes, to talk
with a vaporish smile.
By Bernard HenrieQLRS Vol. 10 No. 1 Jan 2011