February 2015


We watch the school parade from the balcony.

Even in broad daylight, kids march holding broomsticks crowned by colourful paper lamps. We’ve seen these lamps lit at night, and heard the oldest boys raising havoc since dawn.

Today, they proudly march across town, below their parents’ sweet gaze. Their teachers mark their steps.

Tutors and students carry banners and pennants, too. They bang on snare-drums, blow horns. There’s different bands, and fried food, and rum. Each class wears its own colour.

Their shiny shoes sometimes sink in the mud left by the last downpour. Wool skirts and trousers make their dark legs sweat, over white cotton socks. Heading each course, its queen.

In front of the smallest, perhaps first or second graders, a doll. Clad in sky-blue satin she carries a lace parasol with her tiny white gloves. She must be seven, or six.

Under our balcony, she smiles at us, and sends us a kiss with her hand.

Jorge Mejia Hernandez