Christie Shary

Poetry - The Garlic Lady of Tequisquiapan

The Garlic Lady of Tequisquiapan

She is old, timeless,
Like the ancient mountains
Surrounding the thermal valley
Of Tequisquiapan.
Her face is sun-stained,
Her hands gnarled,
The Color of the Earth.

She wears a tattered red skirt,
A soiled white blouse
With purple patches.
A yellow shawl hangs
From her curved back,
Cocoons her salt and pepper hair.

"Ajo, ajo, comprar por favor,"
Please buy my garlic,"
She cries to the din of passersby.
But no one stops.
Her only shoe lips from her foot,
As she bends, squats on the cobbled street
In the habitual curl of Mexico's 'bag ladies,"
Her feet tucked beneath her,
Hand outstretched.

She pulls a rag from her apron pocket.
Several greasy tortillias de maize spill out.
She gnaws on one with her teeth stumps.
Stuffing the last one into her pocket,
She pleads pesos from a tourist,
Wipes her mouth with her filthy sleeve.

I watch from a table at a convent
Turned sidewalk café,
Shaded by a red and white umbrella.
I sip a frozen margarita.
It freezes my tongue,
Absorbs the afternoon heat from my body.

The 'Garlic Lady' stares at me,
Her black eyes pleading.
I look down at my Reeboks,
Judge the size of her feet.
"Mas or menos equal," I mumble.

I ask for the bill, stand.
But before I can reach her,
"The Garlic Lady of Tequisquiapan"
Disappears, meshes into the crowd
Of Saturday night celebrants
On their way to the wine festival.