La Guelaguetza

by Felicia Zhornitsky

the prettiest girl I have ever seen

was in el parque de calwa 

on the day that the september sun 

wielded its final summer beams,

determined that we yield to its terrible glory 

before the season turned.

as I stood there blinking in concession, 

I saw her by the pan dulce vendor

with her head upturned to the sky: 

a white rose worshiping the light.

minutes before, I’d been wondering 

what I was doing there

in this unfamiliar park three highways from home 

but now, I stood in awe

at the melodious wit of her conversation,

at the red ruffles adorning her swaying skirt,

at the ribbons bouncing from her sleeves 

as she adjusted the basket of flowers

upon her ebony bun 

as precise as an eye on a butterfly wing.

she was ethereal. and she was looking my way. 

when her eyes met mine 

she smiled, sweeter than helado de chicle, 

and I realized that the 

five boxes of pan dulce that I had bought

would not be enough.