Although Tía Miriam boasted she discovered
at least half-a-dozen uses for peanut butter-
topping for guava shells in syrup,
One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
Maybe it was the billboards promising
paradise, maybe those fifty-nine miles
with your hand in mine, maybe my sexy
There should be nothing here I don't remember...
The Gulf Motel with mermaid lampposts
and ship's wheel in the lobby should still be
She scratches the oranges then smells the peel,
presses an avocado just enough to judge its ripeness,
polishes the Macintoshes searching for bruises.
The vias of Italy turn to memory with each turn
and clack of the train's wheels, with every stitch
of track we leave behind, the duomos return again
to my imagination, already imagining Paris-
Not a study or a den, but El Florida
as my mother called it, a pretty name
for the room with the prettiest view
of the lipstick-red hibiscus puckered up
Pescado grande was number 14, while pescado chico, was number 12; dinero, money, was number 10. This was la charada, the sacred and obsessive numerology my abuela used to predict lottery numbers or winning trifectas at the dog track.
Morning, driving west again, away from the sun
rising in the slit of the rearview mirror, as I climb
on slabs of concrete and steel bent into a bridge
arcing with all its parabolic y-squared splendor.
Word is praise for Marina, up past 3: 00 a.m. the night before her flight, preparing and packing the platos tradicionales she's now heating up in the oven while the tortillas steam like full moons on the stovetop. Dish by dish she tries to recreate Mexico in her son's New England kitchen, taste-testing el mole from the pot,