I was trekking to Udaipur in my Navy pea coat.
In my backpack, I had a solar-activated crystal radio,
a swimsuit by Hugo Boss, and a herd of Buffalo nickels.
I stopped at a family planning clinic, where I flirted
with young men waiting for their girlfriends,
while the girls discussed blue and white pills
with their counselors. It doesn’t hurt to flirt.
As a character in a Kurt Vonnegut novel observed –
What is flirtatiousness but an argument
that life must go on and on and on?
Udaipur was thirty kilometers on. I asked a nurse
if I would make it. She said, no, it was too dangerous;
I’d have to take a car. Yusuf, the Tajik who drove me
the rest of the way to Udaipur, asked if I’d eaten horse
in Kazakhstan. I had. He asked if we ate horse
in America. We don’t, I said, horses being for labor,
transportation, or show jumping.
What about camel? Do you eat camel? he asked.
We don’t have camels in America, I explained.
He smiled sheepishly and seemed disappointed.
So I told him that sometimes we ate buffalo,
and that seemed to cheer him up.
Don Hogle was the winner of the 2016 Hayden’s Ferry Review poetry contest as selected by Alberto Rios and a finalist in the 2015 Northern Colorado Writers and Aesthetica Creative Writing contests. Poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Chautauqua, Mud Season Review, Minetta Review, Blast Furnace, New Verse News and Shooter and A3 Review in the U.K. among others. He lives in Manhattan. www.donhoglepoet.com
featured image by Bernard Gagnon.