En Route to Bangladesh, Another Crisis of Faith

— at Dubai International Airport and ending with a line by César Vallejo

Because I must walk
through the eye-shaped
shadows cast by these
curved gold leaves thick
atop each constructed
palm tree, past displays
of silk scarves, lit
silhouettes of blue-bottled
perfume — because
I grip, as though for the first
time, a paper bag
of french fries from McDonald's,
and lick, from each fingertip,
the fat and salt as I stand alone
to the side of this moving
walkway gliding me past dark-
eyed men who do not look
away when I stare squarely
back — because standing
in line to the restroom I want
only to pluck from her
black sweater this one shimmering
blond hair clinging fast —
because I must rest the Coke, cold
in my hand, beside this
toilet seat warmed by her thighs,
her thighs, and hers.
Here, at the narrow mouth
of this long, humid
corridor leading to the plane,
I take my place among
this damp, dark horde of men
and women who look like me —
because I look like them —
because I am ashamed
of their bodies that reek so
unabashedly of body —
because I can — because I am
an American, a star
of blood on the surface of muscle.