A rolling tortilla stuffed with
cilantro and hot chile dreams
of mailing money to México
passes from a mother to
a son. The taco maker gashes
cebolla against the grill. He wears
an apron, matted against mole
skin, carries his form when
he peels it off. At 2 a.m.
university students pack
at the window for taquitos y burritos.
A girl with hair the color of wheat shoves
a dollar across the counter,
he slides extra jalapeños. She talks
more with the taquero than with her parents.
Salsa sticks to her lips but
never his name. A row of sodas
shimmers through the glass
displays that separate
this youth from his own
son learning to read in the char
broiled mist of the griddle
six lenguas sizzle
staccato steam puffs
in this chrome box oiled
with hopes. The taco maker's child
scribbles a menú in inglés and wonders
if he might look at his father
from the other side of the glass.
-- Lisa Marie Sandoval
Copyright © 1999-2007 Lisa Marie Sandoval. All rights reserved