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I Open the Door

outward
not inward to find her
missing a sink
running water
plastic scrubbies
anti-bacterial soaps
bleach
windex spray bottles
paper towels
her dishes, pots ‘n pans
drying in the sun
on the rough wood table
others on the roof
clean
from her single bar of soap
next for the laundry
later a shampoo
as to bathing
best not to know
no stove to be seen
a ground fire
ignited by match and a drop of hot plastic
now cooled
clears an empty space
without pail or mop
but ready for her only tool
a broom
whisking away the floating coca leaves
from the dirt floor of the room without walls
an open air kitchen
now spotless
with the same smile of pride
as I

At the age of 69 in 2009, Meg Vermillion volunteered through Global Citizens of the Twin Cities. She participated in a homestay immersion experience in a remote village of northeast Lima, Peru, 60 miles south of the Amazon – where she was inspired for the context of this poem.