Still-Life with Salt on Fruit
In those days, mi Mama me dijo
There wasn’t enough salt.
But we were grateful. Agradecemos.
En aquellos días, my Mom was enough.
We sat at the picnic tables in Duck Creek Park.
Mis tías, mis tíos, we all loved simply.
Skirt steak on the grill, tortillas on the comal.
We tended fire until the embers had enough heat,
until we could dust salt & chew fajitas &
my siblings & cousins could run rolling
down the hills of the park. Texas sweat
on the rim. Big Red in Solo cups.
Easter Sunday after mass, we’d come back here.
My brother’s birthday in August, we’d come wild
again. Enough to forget Six Flags, fighting,
the Chuck E. Cheese pizza & games. Grass stains
on jeans, our Mom said, we ruined them. Her wet
hands would scrub & scrub, detergent & clean &
clean. The same hands that could take a knife
& present her sliced cubes: the bright juicy red
of sandia. Cut & displayed for our summer treat.
A veces, we came to the backyard. In our tire
swing, we sat eating fruit. Sticky sweet fingers.
Blazing drops of sweat on our shirt. She’d bring
the watermelon, drizzled with salt & chili powder,
the night draping its curtain. What laughter.
What treasure. Mom would say eat, eat, there’s more
now & more later & we siblings would come full
& now I am staring out the yard telling my Mother,
look, I have more than enough — I can cook
what you taught me back in those days.
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