Calculus of Market Day

1 November 2017

(Capo d’Orlando, Sicily)

The song of the nearby jackhammer,
removing cancerous concrete – the salt
the sea – is lackadaisical but I prefer it
to the relentless disco beat at this cafe
just outside the sweltering Thursday market.
Am I interested to see how many delights can
be confected from sugar? My waistline speaks
volume. And there’s air-con and espresso.
Maria awoke inspired, recalling her vision
of a desired rug as if, overnight, rugs
mysteriously became revelatory,
like those cornetti con nutella.
Just as a Sicilian man would know how
to renew concrete, a Sicilian woman knows
how to get the best price on a market rug
that already is incredibly cheap because
slaves attached to machines on a continent
she’ll never visit, even if she wins Lotto,
make temptingly cheap imitation Persian rugs.
Sicilians, hardened by successive invasions
before the current retail one, have weathered
bullying from every direction. The curse
of being geographically well-endowed.
Everybody wants to screw you but that’s
just history, today is market day and merchants
crave cash before siesta. Jackhammer’s lament
peters out and now there’s a rug that must be
shouldered to our foreign car with peeling paint –
the salt the sea.

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