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  • Alice Wyatt

A Saleswoman On The Move




Carmelita

Carmelita sells me a basket

“ochenta pesos” she whispers- 80 pesos

my limited vocabulary stretches that far

thanks to a C in high school Spanish

about four dollars for a basket

exquisitely woven by her Tarahumara mother

intricate patterns created with pine needles

and slender stalks of native sotol plants

it is small, delicate, purples, reds

with dark bands around the edges

echoing Carmelita, dressed in a bright calico skirt

encircling her thin brown legs

La chica “tiene ocho anos” - 8 years old

a bright turquoise headscarf slides back

revealing the blackest of hair and a shy smile

but this youngster is no novice



when gringos hand over 100 peso bills

she feigns ignorance

cocking her head to one side

she widens her coal-black eyes and is still

some savvy travelers would dig for smaller bills

but I, most happily, play along

indicating “keep the change”

with a gentle touch on her head

bills quickly disappear into her skirt pocket

gathering up her basket full of baskets

minus a few now

she heads out - a saleswoman on the move


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