Out Of Alausi
Oh Mountain! You’ve a froth of cloud pinned to your voluminous green lap like a snow-white hanky pinned to a lady’s skirt
The mountains are rounded like a giants cast-off hats; here banded by straw huts; there adorned with cows.
Just out of Alausi, Indians in red ponchos are jammed into truck beds like strawberries in a crate. The lion-mountains are clothed in yellow velvet, panting in the drought.
The road is walled at places by dried mud cliffs.
Smoky Indians descend the bus at remote spots. No sign of trail nor hut, just endless crags, roiling cauldrons of trapped clouds, gorges and scrub.
Where are they going?
A ragged boy with twice-too-long sleeves flaps by like a fledgling condor.
Roadside bushes, color of clay, gasp under their dusty crusts, tremble to free themselves and curse their luck.
Stone- faced outcroppings like bald, old men sport grass eyebrows and grey bromeliad beards.
I have deftly avoided seat mates till now; small boys with stale shit clinging in the crotches of their pants wearing high tech, falsified toe-jam shoes, fat old farmers with unlikely cowboy hats and Indian ladies with leaking babies.
But now I have a sniffling lady who primly picks beans from a small plastic bag. Her thumb and forefinger are perfectly curved pincers. The remaining digits fan out like a grand dame’s. She doesn’t offer me any.