Sunday, March 1, 2009
Walking on Cabrini Boulevard sometimes I pass an Indian woman in a full circle fuchsia skirt that hangs to her knees. Black leggings cover the gap between the skirt's hem and the brown boots that slouch below her knees. She wears a boxy wool coat, too big for a frame that doesn't reach five feet. A black felt bowler hat, the kind shown in glossy travel pictures of Ecuador, warms her head. Twin black braids escape the hat and swing along her bent back as she sorts through garbage for recyclables. Last Wednesday beside a tree she stashed two treasures: frying pans, one slightly larger than the other, still usable. A man stopped and eyed them admiringly as if to say, amazing the things people throw away in Manhattan. She interrupted her work and said in Spanish through a smile flashing with gold caps, those are mine. His responding smile betrayed embarrassment. He continued walking, she continued searching.