he takes a sky tram
up the columbian mountains
noticing the neighborhoods
crumble deeper
every meter they rise
above the city center
until sheet metal
walls and roofs
become brick
on top of
mortar-less brick

finally her stop
he assumed she must be poor
but not this kind of

there is nowhere to sit

he presents:
strawberry licorice
a giant teddy bear
disney t-shirt with
matching socks
silky pajamas
hair bands

her mother intercepts
and inspects each gift
thank you sir thank you
but what she needs
is shoes for walking
into the city
and maybe a little money
for her sister’s school

and this—
there is no room for this
take him back down

so michael and the giant bear
take the tram back down the mountain
what was I expecting to happen?
over ceiling-less walls and woven matts
and stray dogs fighting for bones
into the modern city
to buy sensible shoes
for this sweet-pretty girl
and her mother and sister?
oh my god
what else can I do?
book an earlier flight and say goodbye?

pig tails and princess shirt
she meets him behind the stucco studio
where they film her show
she hugs the bear
love you!
goodbye now
number one fan!

then disappears through the door
before the bosses see