The clutch of fresh tortillas
You bought at Mata’s Fruit Store
Just north of the Stanton Street Bridge
Paired perfectly with your green chile stew.
Long ago, I stopped with my daughters
For combo plates and salsa in Las Cruces
And learned the baptism of hatch pepper
As it rinsed the dust from my eyes.
So, when I stood in your small kitchen,
Cubes of pork and potatoes swimming
In a deep stained cauldron of verde,
I knew I was in for another scalding.
After a spoon or two, my tongue lit up
And beads of sweat pooled on my scalp.
Next came tears and laughter, a drippy nose.
Down my neck and back, ran a rivulet.
The mistake, of course, is to lick your lips.
But even that quick blistering subsided
As I peeled back and folded another tortilla
To sop up what remained of my remedy.
For more on Laurence Musgrove, please see our Authors page.