Lima: Ovalo Gutierrez — 2014 — A Poem

Lima: Ovalo Gutierrez — 2014

— By Robert Tansey —

 

Miraflores! Los Ricos y Los Pobres
(an ongoing history)

On the Ovalo in a fast food place
(there are many — take your pick),
I am eating my American tourist diet
Of hamburger and fries
When I spot her.

 Ducking and weaving on the forbidden
Second floor.
She takes cover among the booths as
The assistant manager comes up the stairs
Looking for her — seeking to throw her out.

I laugh out loud at her boldness,
and spotting my amusement,
this artful dodger fast approaches:
“Un sol, un sol?”
Offering me a candy from the box she carries.

“Después, afuera!”
I tell her in my broken Spanish,
with a gesture toward the stairs.
Sure enough, she is waiting outside
For fulfillment of the promise.

 An edgewise participant
in Lima’s burgeoning economy,
she helps her mother
in a very large city with common
large city problems.

 Nineteenth century London or
21st century anywhere,
She is the very dickens of a problem.
She could well advise business school graduates
on the challenges of:
Finding markets,
Overcoming sales resistance,
Struggles with regulatory bureaucracy.

 MariCarmen is ten years old
She cannot read nor write.

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