by Tanya Joyce

In ordinary clothes
Melami Sufis, picking watermelons,
Riding home in an open cart
Pulled by a yellow tractor.

They are singing, smiling.
The one who sings the verses
Drums on a watermelon with his right hand,
Shakes his half full water bottle
With his left, pats his knee for a third sound
As he sings.

The other wears a baseball cap that has
“ITALIA” on the crown.
His voice creates a bass line.
He exhales hard in deep tones — 
No words —
Keeping the beat like older men
At home in blue tile lodges,
Clapping hands to their chests, breathing out
Together, in rhythm.

These two smiles, continually smile,
And sing. Did they cross the sea
Below decks? Do they smile
Because their boat landed
In safety? Are they here
To pick watermelons, to send
Money home, perhaps?

The tractor driver joins their song,
Waving his hand past sunflowers
In the ditch grass, turning his wrist
With the music, rotating his palm
To catch the sun, just as the sunflowers do,
Blossoming in the ditches
Beside the cart.

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