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.
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