background image

Esmeralda 933


background image

Saint Moritz on a Sunday






For Minerva class of 2021 






The city is strange without you. Things familiar to us now closed: Lavaya, 

Heladaría Esmeralda, the vegetarian buffet that’s always packed during lunch 

on weekdays. I hope we see each other again soon. You showed me that home 

doesn’t need to be attached to a place. It can be found in late night walks 

and heated arguments about what to eat for lunch and getting yelled at by bus 

drivers for our perpetual confusion. I compiled a collection of thoughts and 

impressions inspired by a city that’s always raining AC pee. Our home for a 

few months. I hope this makes you smile or feel a little less lonely.  








background image

There was




about this



“We could use a

little less



background image

January 1st: Flight to EZE

There is terrain like you’ve never seen before

Bloody pools of earth and caked mud

These marbled sand dunes green and pink

Dried up riverbeds carving swirls into land

Perfectly geometric grid lines

No person or house in sight

No indication that humans have conquered this majesty

We just flew past Patagonia

There are snow capped mountains enshrouded by clouds still visible if

you look back

30,000 feet in the air and still

This is the closest I’ve felt to earth

Beauty with a 

fence around it  


San Martin

background image


Art Studio: 

Malabia Town 

3 Good Things: 





1. Have you ever heard birds

flying so close? The flutter

of wings like tissue paper



 [On another note, the pigeons 

in this city look like they’ve 

been through war. A and I send 

each other pictures of the 

scraggliest war vet pigeons we 

can find in parks]  

2. That mango eaten above the

cutting board: juice dripping

to elbows. Soft and sweet.

3. It’s sunset and there are

purple flowers falling. No one

is looking at their phones,

everyone looking at each



background image

Thursday after classes: The park on the 

way to Disco 



This woman looked so 



Eyes closed 


Feet hovering above the 


background image

“I think I’m sexually

attracted to red flags”


Tower 2 Roof: a rare occasion where 

last night’s bad decisions become 

more aesthetic in the daylight

background image

Plaza San Martin

Climbing vine outside 

R’s window




I believed  


Love starts and ends with house plants 












We discovered a rainforest in 




The oxygen so abundant 





           You make my lungs ache 





We are Adam and Eve enchanted by 

things we shouldn’t taste  



Danger in possibilities  



The richness and depth that can be 




Shatters the sweetness of ordinary 




This will bar us from ever returning 

to Eden but  







We long for it anyways   









background image

3 Good Things:  





1. In Buenos Aires, you

can see green oil

pooling in avocados, pit

removed. The fruit so

warm and soft from

ripening under the

Argentine sun that the

oil has separated from

the flesh. Cut it with a

spoon, it will dissolve

in your mouth

2. Last night: moist air

felt like saran wrap

clinging to skin but

conversation was good

and the pizza crust was

perfectly crunchy. We

took turns biting into

an alfajor on the 152

bus at 11pm. Licking

flattened crumbs from

silver plastic

3. There were times in

the sunset, in the

cotton soft clouds

against a dreamy creamy

sky, when I wanted to

kiss you. When I think

you were looking at my

mouth and thinking the

Teacher’s library

Friday with H

We ate Indian food for lunch

and sat in a park talking

about the lack of elderly

interracial couples

Meet me at this bench in 2068

With your wispy white beard

I’m the one with the silver

perm and beige crocs

. . .

background image

We were on the roof and she was crying.

But before that we were dancing

It was beautiful messy mostly beautiful

For a second all we did was dance with each other by ourselves

dance with glass skyscrapers sturdy frameworks the backdrop of

lights white and romantic

we climbed a rusty red ladder to the protruding cement rising on

the rooftop, two bottles of wine, casual swigs till they’re empty

to be repurposed for flowers or tossed carelessly into the bin at


She’s crying and I want to comfort her, but words fall short so we

stand in the dark hugging each other tightly, tears wet and warm


Paraguay and Esmeralda: 

Sitting outside Le Petit

background image

Take a teaspoon of salt 


Add a little honey 


Make me a sea potion with 


Black pepper and cayenne 


Only the dried flowers 


It will evoke the sound of seashells 


We whisper across waves 


Lantern orange reflecting off your skin 


I touch you through a wooden mirror 


Darling, close your eyes and dream of 








 cities in the sun 


MiCorner: End of

the World Edition

background image

Sitting in the sun thinking about fluorescent orange

jellyfish in deep blue waters. Outside WeWork. This

week was strange and left me with a mild headache and

general feeling of annoyance. But I’m outside and

trying to think about good things. Like how jellyfish

move. And R, excited to learn songs by Beirut on the

ukulele. Like learning Spanish from Uber drivers. And

feeling your mind melt when you sit like this, in a

beam of direct light, listening to music, absorbing

sun like a cactus on a windowsill.

background image

I will tell myself these things until

they sound true, until the fear that

this story may end any other way


How did this happen?

Lives condensed prematurely back into suitcases

Carried to airports, wheeled onto international flights booked two

hours in advance. No time for goodbyes.

A week ago,

We were buying overpriced drinks in exchange for air conditioned

procrastination at Starbucks

We were sitting on the concrete bench outside our hotel at midnight

sharing oreos and chips, licking cheese dust from our fingers.

Negotiating what to watch on Netflix.


You’re back with your family in Pakistan and I’m still here in Buenos

Aires. Seeing ghosts of familiar smiles on the last walk to Puerto

Madero. The city shuts down tomorrow.

It was a rapid unraveling, everything falling apart at once, no ribbon

to neatly tie up loose ends. Leaving without closure, no last words

just a sentence interrupted halfway

In London,

We will steal back the nights we should’ve spent dancing in Palermo

We will recall the time spent apart and lonely with humor and grace

background image

There are clumps

of dandelion

fluff seceded

from the flower

Carelessly being

tossed by the


Dreading the

descent towards

heavy soil

Wishing instead

to float

and float

Until they disintegrate in the


But what a sad way to live

Without any roots

On the edge of existence

background image

It’s supposed to be detrimental for human happiness to be mentally

absent from the current moment

Funny to read this after 2 decades of vagabonding through distant


compelled by everything that isn’t here

How do you tame a wandering mind?

Spent the afternoon at the Ecological Reserve, looking at how light

casts fluid shapes on blue green waters. The smell of salt.

Try to stay, despite the desire to float away

Maybe it’s time to calibrate my mental coordinates with reality

Perhaps then, happiness will find me more easily

At the very least, I’ll have a more reliable address to receive mail.



background image

Alice’s tea house, San Telmo

Bio, Palermo 

D’s birthday 

3 Good Things 



1.M, in the first week of trying

to quit smoking: using his hands

to wipe spilled red wine off a

table top and casually rubbing it

on his cheeks. Laughing and saying

his state of mind has been strange


2. Sunday morning and the air

smells like homemade bread and


3. A canvas of oil paint: slick

and wet. When the light hits, all

the colors are washed out till all

you can see is the movement of the

palette knife – nothing left but

buttery textures

Argentina has stopped

all air travel.


Uncertainty rapidly

escalating. Maybe this

can still catalyze good

things. We can reach out

to everyone we know,

everyone we’ve ever

loved and tell them how

they make us feel

background image

We lived in a box

Of chairs and wooden tables

Silver cutlery and affection

Like the almond inside a peach pit

Wrapped in ripe honey sweetness

You scatter seeds from a hole in your jean pocket

Little trails wherever you go

Buds of pale soft green bloom in wet soil

A heaviness in each step

A lightness in your eyes

I found a plastic watch inside an old house


Slipped it into my dress pocket

The ghost of ticking echoes wherever I go

When we kiss I think of fingernails

Seashell pink with white half moons

background image

Pottery room in Malabia Town. The

windows open and the sound of rain.

The smell of incense.  A case study

on solitude and peace

background image

. . .

To love people, briefly but

completely in the time spent

drawing: they become the only

thing that exists, generating a

deep affection for each detail

and change in mannerism

The slight upturn of their nose

and the way a smirk curls

lopsided to the left, the furrow

in their forehead as they sing,

the way fingers are wrung

anxiously before performing.

Hair falling into their eyes, a

smile faltering.

Do you know how precious you


There is no shame in having


Without them you’d be blinding

white light

Impossible to look at

 let alone touch

How lonely would that be?

Music Night

Went to Malabia Town and it was different from the bright airy bubble we

discovered on Exploration Day. It was dark in the corridor, and there was the

smell of damp laundry and food. Someone in the art studio: Cristian, from

Spain, proud of himself for learning to make hand sewn notebooks. Something

vibrant and deep inside his chest I could not reach. The bone structure of a

bird, his gestures graceful and lively. A dancer.

I went back into the rain [it was raining harder now] and walked to Librería

Gandhi. A colorful wool scarf becoming increasingly wet.

The cafe was cold and my skin felt hot but I sat down and drank berry flavored

tea and ate all the chocolate (the bar stale but there was the tang of pink

salt) and finished creating diagrams and citations and editing an assignment on

the Argentine Constitution. Ate a white chocolate alfajor, crumbs falling

everywhere while calling an Uber to the music club. I was shaking for some

reason and  my skin was still hot and strange. The night was a poorly lit haze,

trying to draw everyone who performed as

a distraction from how self-conscious

I felt.

background image

Figs from a fruit vendor I often pass running:

Doce por cien 


He held the plastic bag as I squatted and picked

Some so plump they felt like they might burst

I held them gently between fingers

Searching for imperfections

He tore one open to show me

Breaking the deep purple belly with a firm thumb

The insides soft and pink

A freckling of mustard yellow seeds

They’re fresh

Run them through water

Dip them in honey



background image

In a park next to the bus stop by the Botanical Gardens

It’s the first comfortable encounter with stillness this week: no

racing thoughts, no bumbling fixation. There are pigeons bobbing

around and kids playing in the shadow of trees. The trees in this

city are bizarre: there is one to my right that has leaves like

cotton balls.

There’s an eccentric couple reading in front of a bush of

daffodils. A flurry of yellow and green. The afternoon light looks

beautiful on them. She’s wearing a velvet purple turtleneck, her

hair a halo of pinkish orange. He looks at home with himself —

disheveled sleepy curls and a faded shirt the color of stormy

seas. He’s lying down, his head on her lap. She plays with his

hair and reads out loud in Spanish.

background image

  A small good thing

We sat side by side on a

dark green bench and ate

ice cream from separate

containers [you: plum and

chocolate. me: dulce de

leche and pistachio] with

arms pressed together

background image

There is a thin membrane of sweat

A and I are sprawled on tanning beds on the 3rd tower terrace

He looks like he married the sun

Sweat converges into drops and leave watery trail marks down my


Yesterday R and I were walking in San Telmo, squinting in bright

light. Trying to find coolness. We ate churros that were insane—

deep fried hedonism with a dulce de leche center

Hot on the tongue

background image

Consider this a test of

courage and togetherness and


let’s make the best out of a


Window washers outside WeWork

Day 2 of the government shut-down

Whimsical and unexpected:

Workers sitting in the air, suspended by thin spindly wires, white suds

forming, brightly colored buckets dangling on each side