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THE HUMBLE TORTILLA
By Bill Frayer
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