Meeting Places: Part III


Indians

have grown from an invasive species
to an eco-system, worming through
the substrata of ventilation systems,
electric grids, and the swinging doors
of restaurants. They are warriors
in a rear-guard action, the periphery
of a theatre without generals.

They vault over the guard rails
and plunge between errant Chevys
like a brigade of janitors charging
out of the trenches. No man’s land
is a state of being. A meeting
of desperations, the need to leave
home and the desire to return.

All battle plans in Oman are exit strategies.

They make up a quarter of the country.
In Sohar there are Indian schools,
Indian hospitals, Indian taxis to shuttle
between Indian enclaves, expanding,
as they watch the rich recipients of oil
welfare grow more fat and less able.
They are wage slaves, blue collar hands

with white collar minds. They build
the roads, but take the public bus
to the port, the refinery, the factory,
where deposits of metals, gas and oil
are converted, pumped through
German engineered machines
past brown sub continental hands
onto Japanese built supertankers
into American ports.

Between battles they measure money
as a unit of time, the treaty
that ends their war of attrition
is written in zeros. So they rush the road
to make a payday pilgrimage
on the first of every month
to the Western Union, exporting
sweat and muscle and pain
from the lives they can touch,
to the ones they predict, waiting
somewhere past the sea.


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