THE HUMBLE TORTILLA

By Bill Frayer

tortilla_march2011

 

Every day I visit the small market.

Every day I see the battered cooler.

Get there early, or they’re gone.

I open the lid, the sweet smell.

The humble tortilla.  Corn masa

Mixed with water, flat and round.

They cook ‘em on a griddle

Flipping with fast fingers.

Filled all day, every day, thousands,

Meat with red chiles,

Beans with fresh cheese.

Push around the food

Stuff the mouth, drip down the chin,

With the sweet taste of Mexico.

Fragrant whole grain corn

Ground from stone, the perfect food,

Connecting us now

Scooping comfort and succulent sauce,

Tasting the spirit

Of the ancient people,

Nourishing those who worked

In the soil in the sun,

Chewing the abundance of this land.

This is a profound connection

To the Mexican soul.

I can feel the warm weight

Of the damp paper-wrapped bundle

From the old cooler, and—for me—

Walking home, I too am Mexican,

If just for a moment

With this humble tortilla.

Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood. 
--T. S. Eliot

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