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Baja California Information Pages
Poems of Baja California

    The Market

by Jan Olsen  

On every face in the market
the dust of the city
is etched in summer heat.
Behind the stands
the wrinkled old women
know many things:
    The ripeness of fruit,
    the weight of eggs.
Their baskets measure time
both bought and sold,
woven and rewoven
in the language of trade.

Small lizards watch
from cracked adobe walls
as parrots tower in cages
strapped to the back
of el hombre de pericos.
Amongst whistles and eyebrows,
and petticoats and ribbons,
there is the smell
of chiles and grain
frying in the stands.
Tortillas and fish.
Leather and vegetables.
Saddles and tools.

What strange heart of man
makes him know the words, te quiero,
before he has heard them spoken?
Makes him understand
the bright radish
still smelling of earth?
Musicians stroll
and awnings come down
in heat of mid-day.
It is time for siesta,
a tradition well-kept.

It is time . . . for dreams.

Jan Olsen

Contents Page: Copyright 1991-2011 Jan Olsen