Saturday, November 3, 2012

Wants or Possibilities

If I could spend most nights watching the orange of the sunset melt into bleeding red
I’d be a happy woman

If I could walk into my home, once in a while, to the scent of another cooking me dinner,
That’d make me happy too

If I could ride on two wheels for interminable miles along the ocean and never get cold
I’d be a grateful person

If I could smell the sweet pine/sweat/bear growl of a lover’s armpit forever
I’d be much more settled

If I could plant a garden from which I could eat persimmons and peas
I’d give my thanks daily

If I could keep one day a week completely to myself
I’d know peace much more intimately

If I could look at the person to whom I dedicate Donny Hathaway songs
I’d let love bloom in my belly

If I even knew that that person existed
I’d have a little more direction

If I could hear the ocean instead of an overpass
I’d sleep much more completely

If I could take a unicorn or zebra into my care
I’d brush its rainbow mane with ritual attention

If I could sing like a well-padded black woman
I’d say its ‘cause of the blues

If I could walk down the street to buy homemade tortillas instead of going a chain grocery store
I’d feel a butterfly of beauty within my chest

That one I always felt when I walked through the jungle across the entire island to find the tortilla lady, cooking them over an open fire, selling me not only the chewy warm corn dough, but the salt from her working fingers, the hope of making enough money that day, the shingles of her patchwork home, the serenity of her acceptance.

The same one I always felt when la familia de Diana had a party and we ate flautas until our bellies nearly popped.  Or years later when Gina left us chicken mole y tortillas on the stove in case we had a really rough day.  Or when, as a kid, el amigo de mi hermano showed me how to toast them over the stove’s coils; Who needs a pan?  Or when, in love for the first time, Eddie taught me how to dance in front of his entire familia at my first quinceanera in the tiny dance hall of a sleepy ol’ pueblo in the desert.

If I could roll out small handfuls of maíz, límon, sal, y orégano
to press them
to steam them up
to make them warm hammocks for eggs y chorizo
If I could put the plate down in front of my love
And kiss them
And let them eat
And feel their enveloping arms come from behind me as I made more tortillas

I’d know love

We’d listen to the ocean
And watch the red sunset bounce off its glassy shelving

Biding time until night brought us to bed. 

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