Walking through the barrios of Luena with Carlos
to the old engine yard, the old engines all rusting magnificence
and brittle yellow weeds tall between the tracks.
Meeting the squatters who live in the carriages
brewing dinner and hooch, with nothing to do on a sleepy Sunday
but squabble and drink and wait for oblivion.
Among them, Rosalina Silva, gap toothed and gleaming, old before thirty.
I ask to take her photograph—Carlos translates—she asks Why?
I say because you are beautiful. She says I’m not beautiful. Oh but you are I tell her.
The others gather around and again someone asks Why? What’s in it for us?
Nada. Nothing I say. Only friendship.
They all laugh and applaud. This is a good answer.