How do I begin to tell the story of a life? How can I bring to paper blood?  flesh?  heart and heartbeat? . . .  I simply begin beneath skin. Rita Marie Nibasa, Author * Playwright * Poet

Fast friends of many years, they sport leather backpacks and comfortably upholstered bodies.
Wearing fine straw hats and comfortable shoes over much-travelled feet,
they lunch in sweet-quaint spots just off the beaten path –
take with them what they may that is not finished.
No menus here – thick soups with rough-skinned breads and homemade butter,
drinks in tall scratched glasses, roadside greens with oil and blood-red vinegar.
Dutch treat and save dessert for later.

They link arms and lean in to watch the other’s eyes
and better hear each other’s thoughts – sometimes they say nothing at all.
They explore crumpled guidebooks – never lost –
share universal language with the village women,
nodding, shrugging, laughing with mouths held wide.
Eyes creased at tanned corners, they sometimes wonder, if.
Hands flutter holding words aloft then set them free once spent.

They wear bifocal lenses, shades and sunscreen, but deliberately travel light.
They don’t too often look back to where they’ve been,
but wander forward, peering in dusty windows, jangling the bells of cluttered shops:
scooping treasure from bins of dross, they collect receipts of memories.
They tuck smudged handbills into bright cloth flowered bags,
dip into clever pockets for gum or mints or folded currency,
leave glittery mounds of coins for tips and smile without goodbyes.

One hand grasps another’s wrist; they swivel silvered heads
then pause and stare at muscular chests fronting taut sauntering buttocks.
Soft murmurs of assessment roll from smiling lips.
That sound!
They look behind them.
Brows raised high, a gray-haired, thick-trunked male
unwraps his fresh demeanour and, sidling past,
repeats his whistle of appreciation.

A sibilant psst, a wordless pause, eyes wide, they stop, stretch taller –
more mischief than intention in the autosway of hips,
the snap of fingers beneath a rustle of skirts.
He wheels, considerately turning for their wave of affirmation.

They bow slim necks, clasp hands then stroll across the street.