Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Jaime 8

{Waiting for My Hymen to Grow Back}

The Middle Eastern take-out on the corner might be
going out of business. The owner, shy as Sharif,
paces the sidewalk like, Oh, good brother,
here is another desert I am not built to cross.
Everything about him unfiltered—
his coffee, his cigarettes,
the unfiltered perfection of his mujadara.

I can remember when it first opened:
there were violets in the window boxes,
the door always wide for a
crepe de chine of prurient spices
to steam lithe pheromones
into the bustle of June/July.
There were many regulars,
many swore fidelity
to depths only consummated
by a rich filling meal.

Recently, the neighborhood became
trendy. Pert sophisticates pay homage
to their succulence at the new sushi joint
next door or the heart-happy Mexi-Cali
place across the street where tilapia
tans on a skewer white as jailbait
on a stripper pole.

Food is no longer love or art
or romance wrapped in grape leaves.
It is light fare, casual flings diet
and tasteless on a spoon of steamed rice.
The owner, losing patience, closes the
grates on his passion earlier each night.
On my way home to an empty apartment,
I often panic thinking,
That’s it. That door will never
open again.

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