by Liz Robbins
decides the fate of every love story, even when a cloth is sodden with wetness. He and she ride to town on a noon bus, she, sitting on his handkerchief. They have been sent for groceries, he, one week new, friend to her father, under him at the Consulate. Packed in with peeling leather bags, chickens, goats, dark-eyed men speaking Spanish, not one seat bare. Bruised mango fruit, split. Sticky floor. Her blood, fed by the rules of (her father?) a different country. His heart beating, they must sit very close, a man at the front ordering all windows stay shut. Swollen clouds, his white shirt wet patched, sunned skin peeping through (him?). His arm rims their seat back, whisking her shoulders at each dip in the dirt road. Moss scent and she hears palm trees, feels green-winged birds about them, scattering (her?). The voice inside full-throated, nearly a sob. Air, thrumming with flies. Her tan skirt, it breathes if his bare leg leans. If the invisible (god?) hand—the gold chain, cross at her neck—unclasps.