Among the conquistadors

Photos and text by Teju Cole

foggy park-like area in Savanna, Georgia

In Savannah, a homeless man, quite drunk, came out of the fog. “I am homeless,” he announced. He began to fulminate about the statues in front of the Academy of Arts and Sciences. They were of famous artists, but he took them to be conquistadors. “This one,” he said, pointing to Raphael, “was a mass murderer. And that one over there” — Phidias — “was a child abuser.”

I gave him money. He reached into his coat and handed me a flower.

hand holding flower

3 Replies to “Among the conquistadors”

  1. A beautiful story of graciousness in a beautifully gracious city…a gift of listening, a return gift of magnolia, which in the language of flowers represents dignity. As always, thank you, Teju.

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