The Boy Who Sells Greens
by Carilda Oliver Labra
You have no parents, it's clear. . . I know
because of your indecisive look. I can tell
because of your ragged shirt.
You are small but grown up behind the basket.
You respect the sparrows. A penny is enough for you.
The people pass their insides dressed in steel.
They don't listen to you...You have shouted
two or three times: 'Greens!'
They pass indifferently carrying packages and umbrellas;
in new pants and new yellow blouses;
they walk in a hurry toward the bank and the tedium
or toward the sunset through Main Street. . .
And you're not selling: you do the game of selling;
and although you never played, it comes to you without trying...
But don't get close to me; no, child, don't talk with me.
I don't want to see the site of your probable wings.
I found you this morning around the courthouse,
and what a blow your unhappy innocence has given me!
My heart which was a urn of illusion
is now like wilted greens, like no heart at all. . .