The furniture still smells the same.
The street echoes
voices of peddlers,
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withdrawn from this poverty by a mere generation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.