"New Cairo" by Matthew Shenoda

The furniture still smells the same.
The street echoes
voices of peddlers,
the marketplace.
The basket hangs off the railing
they use it to pull up corn, bought
from a passerby.

I stand on the balcony, staring
withdrawn from this poverty by a mere generation
then I remember:

Great-Grandmother used to say,
“If you throw salt away
God will make you
pick it up
one grain at a time
with your eyelashes”

“New Cairo ” excerpted from Somewhere Else by Matthew Shenoda. Copyright © 2005 by Matthew Shenoda. Used by permission of Coffee House Press.