Pilgrimage

It takes a while
before the eye feels
comfortable
navigating the streets
in a once familiar
and now foreign city—

It wants to take in
landmark after landmark
based on emotional vibrations
set off by certain signs or
whether the sea
can be glimpsed
from a lookout point.

Other than that, each junction
is its own destination: stops
on the way that vendors try
to make bearable with offerings
of hot peanuts or boiled eggs,
or the sweet-charred smell of corn.

A friend buys every single item
lifted to the grimy bus
window— isn’t that the point,
he says. Like church
pilgrimages made in Lent:
when the faithful touch
their lips to every statue
that might warm to life.

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