Alone in La Moon
I ate sancocho de res,
—yuca, starchy green plantain, potato, and
a strap of brisket in a broth of cilantro
pulsed to a dark murk.
And on the side, between the shredded
salad and the turret of rice, a crescent
of fried cornmeal,
a moon-shaped arepa.
Outside, the smudge of a tropical depression
hangs over downtown Miami,
the illuminated roofs and penthouses
poking up into the low clouds
like immense tent-poles.
I want to tell the waitress
that the soup compliments the weather
but I cannot remember the word for weather,
so I say,
"con la lluvia, es perfecto,"
gesturing to the huge bowl in front of me.
"OK" she nods,
and walks away
to check on the one other man eating alone
in the next room.
From the sky right now,
Miami must look like this soup—
the glowing dome of a potato
poking up through the greasy fog,
the moon, half-eaten on a distant platter.
I trawl with my spoon,
whittle slivers of yuca and beef.
They have deep-fried the moon for me tonight,
draped rooftops in fog,
and set them on my tiny wooden table.
They must know how we love
to build things that reach into the clouds,
and how we love even more
to reach down into them.