Comedor, Oaxaca
by Robert Joe Stout

Large square room, concrete floor,
no kitchen—just side-by-side work tables
and a stove. The menu: chicken chileado
or zucchini stuffed with cheese. I choose
the chicken, through the open doorway
see dusty jacarandas twitch as trucks
lurch past their faded blooms and highway
workmen sop their forehead sweat. I feel
at home—very much at home,
gringo in a swarthy land
of hand-washed shirts and hand-hewn corn,
wrecked cars and hobbled ancianos
peddling roses, chichaṛn, as who I am
becomes the boy I was
grubbing through an onion field
in blighted hot Wyoming sun
and I salute the way of life
that’s brought me back to simple things
like earth and rain and hurt.

Illya's Honey Literary Journal

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