July 2021: Are We There Yet?

After 15 months’ hibernation, the tents 
put up sail again—quietly at first. Then, 
with weekend’s arrival, wayfarers’ feet 
stir up dust on the disused path. 

Chromatic colors of sneakers, strollers, 
scarves, and baseball caps circulate
around flea market stalls. Even chihuahuas 
appear, resting in the arms of their humans, 
and a young child balances a piglet 
in his arms as he examines handmade beaded jewelry. 

We fist bump. We shake hands. And the conversation 
is all: “You made it! You’re here!”
The smell of roast mutton and roast corn 
wafts between stalls selling acrylic paintings, 
gospel CDs, silver, turquoise, herbal remedies,
flour sack aprons, T-shirts, mugs, fossils, rocks.

At one stall a woman displays a loom 
with her half-finished rug, reminding us, 
perhaps, that the work is done, yet undone.
A stack of baby quilts is testament, not only
to long hours at home under lockdown, 
but testament to hope.

At the Gallup Flea Market, the old blends seamlessly with the new: 
the handwashing station, the newly built stage for country bands. 
I buy baby quilts for two friends and leave before the dance, 
but by day’s end, I scroll through photos of couples, dancing, 
their eyes disclosing hope, the crinkles of their eyes, smiling.

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