HE WAS all smiles

as he bore the discomfort of a broken seat,

a whiff of scents combined—

boiled peanuts, and nauseating

pine air freshener—

unfazed, still.

Everyone slept

he couldn’t shy away from the view of

towering squares and spaghetti wires.

Opportunity lurked in a tin can with wheels,

that took him to places:

A five-hour trip

to the golden city.

The conductor shouted “Buendia.”

He alighted from the rectangular tin,

and breathed in the dangerous dark breeze—

Nothing like they said—

neither gold, nor diamond

just grime and smoke

and dirty children.

It was too late to realize

his warm welcome to the belly of the beast.


Josef Brian M. Ramil


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