In Europe that summer, tourist
shops awash with midriff-baring
Britney Spears tops, painted
scandal matryoshkas of Bill
and Monica, Paula and Gennifer
and Hillary, ending with a cigar.
But at the grocery store,
no one made eye contact or bagged
my few purchases: three bananas,
two cups of yogurt, a small carton
of juice. Later, someone explained:
They must have thought you
were Chechnyan. It hadn’t
occurred to me. I mused on this
passing through streets lettered
in Cyrillic, emerging from the shadow
of a cathedral. Even the grandmothers
shuffling along, clutching their string
bags with arthritic fingers— they
didn’t see me. How could they not
know about my kind of dark?
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.