Over a tundra of red sand they arrive eager as stadium
fans, with laundry-like sacks and bags, separated into queues:
men and women awaiting the globe’s provisions.
I try not to look at their silt-soft eyes, but to parade through
makes us and them exotic as snow monkeys in Central
Park. The clichéd view begs the clichéd question:
Who is on display? The observer or the observed? A heckle
begins from a woman in the crowd, then grows to a mock rerun
of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; they ululate
and chant till their high-pitched tongue trills turn the warehouse
to a dark forest. Our stage fright is sudden; we hurry straight
to the shed and watch as the flour scooper shows
us how the frontline of hunger is shortened by a white
pour into the Heart of Darkness. They wait for the first
of the month like the poor in Detroit, a flea-bite solution
in the fight against famine. We’re stuck, our roles rehearsed.