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A Maizing Graze

On Bali, the corn sellers all hail

from Lombok, one island east

because… because they always

have… always the same way:

cart loaded with unshucked ears

waiting to be peeled and grilled

just below the tumbrel’s handles

on the narrow barbecue smoking

kernels, sands, street, and senses

redolently from smoldering shells

of coconuts. The seller waves

with one hand his fan to keep

the glow alive as he brushpaints

the ears with his secret sauce

sweet and spicy until yellow

meets its match in umber ready

to be licked and picked apart.

Expat New Yorker James Penha (he/him🌈) has lived for the past three decades in Indonesia. Nominated for Pushcart Prizes in fiction and poetry, his work is widely published in journals and anthologies. His newest chapbook of poems, American Daguerreotypes, is available for Kindle. His essays have appeared in The New York Daily News and The New York Times. Penha edits The New Verse News, an online journal of current-events poetry. Twitter: @JamesPenha

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