When I dream of Tacna there is dirt and dust
and our little cement house on the edge of nowhere,
its bright cerulean blue a beacon on our street when I return home late at night.
I dream of dust on my window pain, as I look out in the mornings
and see the deep blue of our patio walls,
mismatched chairs scattered about, collected over many years.
A fine layer of dry dust covers everything here,
so different from where I grew up:
a coast that battled damp and mildew and mold each and every day,
a fine layer of mist settling onto my head and shoulders as I walked out the door each morning.
If you were to ask me to pick a color for Tacna, the first word out of my mouth would be
It’s a light, yellowish brown,
the brown of sandy dirt where nothing much grows.
I could also tell you grey,
the grey of cement and concrete,
the grey of houses and streets and cars and buses.
These are the colors I live and breathe as I move about the city.
But standing above Tacna, on the top of a dune,
I would tell you that this city is not just one color,
it is not the color of dust,
it is not a color without life.
This city is green,
the green of olive trees
and little plots of farmland.
It is a myriad of blues
as the hot sun beats down from the sky.
Tacna is filled with dirt and dust,
but there are things growing and breathing too.
It is a vivid patchwork of greens and browns
and I cannot take my eyes away from it.
From the top of the dunes I can spot the little world I call my own:
It is one small square in a giant, breathtaking landscape.
This city is huge.
Its expanse reaches out as far as the eye can see.
I am suddenly reminded of my size, my insignificance.
I am a speck in a teeming city of three hundred thousand.
This city is beautiful.
It is alive.
They call it Tacna,
and it is my home.
Originally published at www.jvcwithcamila.blogspot.com