The barefoot toddler thumps beneath the jeepney and cartwheels out the back. Brakes squeal. Dust clouds billow. The dusk has rewarded its passengers with a show.
Park your rainbow-painted trikes. Race from the rice paddies till those silly straw cymbals fly from your crowns. Children are rising from the ditches without their underwear. Let’s dance around this cloth-diapered boy and feel our faces melt to the road. God, his transformation - now boneless, made of dough. How does he clutch that roasted pigtail? How does he hold that smirk? One does not get that grip from this soil. Two red tears still snake across his face. Take him in your arms and whisper, Do not cry, my angel. Your button nose, your umber hair, your skin does more than tan; it burns.
His parents sprint from the nearest farm in Nikes they clearly bought in the States. Mom spreads her mahogany arms to slow, mumbling in English, wailing in tongues. The yellow-haired father vomits the crab legs his mother-in-law boiled; they seem to climb out whole.
Ten Little Indians