Issue 14
Marco Polo Sightseeing
Marco Polo Sightseeing, by Nora Sturges

                              Another porter soon to quit

“He calls his monkey ‘Adam.’ I’m his slave.
His treasures travel boxed up in the hand-cart
that I push or pull, as roads require
or stairs persuade. I hold my brother’s leash,

his thirst for stealing quenched, his eyes dismayed:
Adam the monkey, cheerless as a slave.
What does he see in my eyes, when he looks?
A servant desperate for reflected glory

from an expedition newly joined?
Brother, you see too clearly….There’s more haggling,
‘Madam, that’s too much money. I could save
a bundle in Kobiam’—the usual stuff

she hears from tourists, know-it-alls, and cheapskates
who pass briefly through her lean-to’s shade.
Can’t he just buy and go? I see her face—
tired of money and men, the stone macadam,

the rainforest’s penury…. I tug the leash,
just to make Adam jump: he squeals and lunges,
then retreats…. The Great Man shoots a look—
murderous rage—my way. Whom does he hate

the most right now? I will not be his slave.”