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By Mel Goldberg
On one side of the narrow highway
halfway between Jocotopec to Acatlan
is a dirt patch where a woman and
three cows stand in the shade of a white tarp.
A laborer puts dry chocolate and sugar
into his half liter container and adds cane alcohol.
The woman milks the cow into his cup,
and he has pajarete to help him fly
through a day of crushing labor,
clearing brush with his machete,
or bending to cut stalks of broccoli.
When I was offered the drink
I willingly accepted.
But pajarete dulls the senses.
I want a pajarete that will make my words
wild mustangs that fly across the plains
striking awe into the hearts of men
or the silence in the mouth of one just dead.
My pajarete will create the flowers
visited by bees making honey
with the words I cannot write.
It will be the cry of a child just born,
the taste of a peach just picked.
That pajarete will spew fire to ignite the world
and help me understand
why wealth consumes the poor
or children die for lack of love.
(The Pajarete, a tradition for years in Jalisco, is a blend of chocolate and sugar mixed with cane alcohol and milk fresh from a cow. Traditionally it is taken in the morning by laborers before they go to work in the fields.)