DATE WITH LUCIANO
San Miguel de Allende belonged to Luciano.
He begged on Correos in the morning
On Insurgentes after siesta in the jardin.
We met now and then at the overpass--
vantage point from which to ponder
the river bed of third world trash, unflowing stream of cola cans and blue plastic
--or at the mercado where he sat hunched on a broccoli crate,
sombrero upended as receptacle for leftover dinero.
Our smiles in passing having blossomed a friendship in language universal,
I trekked the cobblestones
till I found him the day my Minolta dangled
for want of a place or an irresistible face--
I framed the tattered straw hat, torn satchel
slung over his arm, wild whiskers, graying and straying.
Bewitched, I searched the soul in his eyes until
a sudden cloudburst sent us scurrying to the shelter
of the cathedral where, fearing his pinned-together sweater would unravel at my touch,
I draped my arm around his shoulder.
"Luciano, mi amigo," I said, detouring the language barrier
by pointing to the darkened sky, to the clock on the tower,
to the spot where we stood.
"Manana, aqui, por favor?" I wanted more.
"Manana, ocupado." He would be quite busy tomorrow.
"Martes," he teased, mischief glistening in the old man's eye.
Minolta and I kept our date on Tuesday
But Luciano had found better things to do.