old men and the bamboo house

entry picture

the old men and the bamboo house


I happened upon two old men

walking down a dirt road

while I was photographing

in the mountains in Costa Rica


I asked if they lived nearby

yes, they said

I asked them if I might see

their home they said they

would be honored


as we neared I could see

it was very humble

built of Bamboo poles

that had been split down the middle


they had a small porch

on the front of the cottage

a small colored photo of Jesus

was taped to the outside wall

under the porch eves


I could see a single light bulb

hanging from the ceiling inside

a large single room


they did not invite me in


I asked if I could take a photo

of the two of them

they seemed surprised that I

would want a picture of them

they seemed shy


they wanted to put

on their good clothes

they went inside and I

could hear them excitedly

speaking in low voices

words that I could not discern


they returned in their “Sunday best”

and each carrying a smile


they brought with them things

that they wanted in the photograph


one brought hand-carved toys

that he made and sold out on the

highway that passed near their house


the other had a photo of some land

somewhere nearby that he said belonged

to the president of Costa Rica

and who was part of his family


They brought me a glass of

cold water and we sat on the porch

and talked for a few minutes


I finished and shook their hands

thanked them and left


they waved as I flagged down a bus

to make my way back to the city

I found a seat and closed my eyes


I wondered

who were they


who were they before moving

together to the mountain


did they leave a family somewhere

or did a family leave them

◄ black clouds a'comin

the old woman in the upstairs window ►


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clyde McCulley

Fri 16th Apr 2021 22:23

I suspect that I know too, but who knows for sure. Thanks for the read and response Keith.

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keith jeffries

Fri 16th Apr 2021 19:50

A brief and unexpected encounter so perfectly described as to enable the reader to imagine the scene but also to ponder why these two old men lived together in isolation. I think I know why.

Thank you for this

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