When offices close for the day
and students file out the school gates,
the barker stakes out
her piece of the sidewalk—
a corner in Quezon Avenue—
and starts calling everyone
to ride her jeepneys.
This is her living:
she beckons every jeepney
that passes to stop by her sidewalk.
She would herd passengers
for mere pittance; but that would feed
the husband and the children next day.
And all this time, she is sharp and wary
of a man hiding behind the lamp post,
another barker, waiting to take her place
if she as much as leaves the sidewalk
for a while to rest or pee;
and the policeman who doesn’t like her
stalling the traffic.
She has fought for this little corner
in Quezon Avenue.
Raymund P. Reyes spent the last 9 years working as an EFL teacher in Saudi Arabia. Now he's back in his native Philippines teaching English in Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Manila. He has published his poems and stories in various literary magazines, the latest of which include Your Impossible Voice, Carbon Culture, and Dappled Things.
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