Easter In Guayaqui

Brad Maxfield

City of smells-the sweet

rot of papaya rind behind


every fence and the sour musk

of piss on broken bricks mix


an estuary’s mossy muck with

diesel smoke and taxi fumes,


and a dead rat laid out neatly

on a shoe by a thoughtful tourist.


Arturo says it smells like rain.

But we may have time to find


a sacred site on the waterfront

buried in bougainvillea, a cafe named


“The Gates of Heaven,” a place,

some locals know, where Che lay low,


in its smells of incense and coffee, its

emptiness and jazz, where it is possible,


still, to have nothing and be nothing

but happy watching a freighter stuck

in chocolate silt disintegrate on Easter.