Confronted with a sea of bleak monotone beige, I thought about my childhood golden dunes of El Saler Beach covered with Pancratium Maritimus’ blooms overlooking the sea’s impossible shades of turquoise. Here colors were excised.
How the bus driver stayed on the road was a mystery since it often appeared hidden by sand. I couldn’t understand why he stopped, but then a man stepped on the metal rungs, nodded, and without a word sat down on the floor since there were no empty seats. Through the glassless windows I searched for a hamlet, a caravan, a truck, a donkey, anything that could have brought the man to this non-existing bus stop on the desert. Nobody seemed surprised or even curious. The bus maintained its course south to Kandahar, Herat long gone.
The new traveler’s complexion of almond shells reminded me of Jesus, with his dark moustache below calm warm eyes. I considered whether the Christian Rabbi had worn a turban, but when I saw the man wiping fine sand dust off his face with the turban’s tail, I decided that yes, he must have needed one. Nothing happened for an hour until the traveler without a seat leaned his head and arm on the lap of the man next to him, and closed his eyes. To my amazement, they never spoke, never made eye contact, both pretended that the fact that one man took another’s body part as pillow for his comfort, never happened, or more likely I witness something beyond my Western comprehension.
I thought of Jesus again following the same Silk Road as Alexander, crossing the treacherous Khyber Pass in his way to India saying: “the son of man has no place to lay his head…” But someone without lifting his arms to stop the bus, without paying the fare, or talking to anyone, found a place to lay his head.
dusk desert sand
a man leans on
the lap of Infinite
Alicia Viguer-Espert was born and raised in Mediterranean Spain. She combines old and new traditions to elicit hope in her poetry. Her work has been published national and internationally. Winner of the San Gabriel Valley Poetry Contest with “Holding a Hummingbird,” her second chapbook “Out of the Blue Womb of the Sea,” was published by Four Feathers Press. She’s a Pushcart nominee.