Poem: Frijoles de la Olla by Melody Rose Serra

Frijoles de la olla 


Ceramic pot, the color of terracotta 
neatly placed on the counter 
Your workspace, like an artist’s studio
The kitchen where you find refuge from a long day’s work 
where your hands follow a sort of intuition 
No recipe to follow
But generations of love and friendship 


They say food brings people together 
Family, both by blood and chosen 
Gathered ‘round your table 
on a random Tuesday, with no special significance at all 


You start to sort through the beans
Somehow you can tell which are bruised 
and which will go in the pot
Like watching a basket maker choose which tree will make the most lovely basket 
What foresight 


The water runs as you rinse the beans
With tenderness, I hear you begin to hum to the tune of “si nos dejan”
The sound of the gas stove, like the strings coming in for the first time in a symphony
Soft, steady, gentle 


Beans go in
Water, broth
Onions
A fragrant blend of spices with no labels 
Watching your hands, dance-like movements 
A choreography you know so well
You lean over and tell me “Mija, el secreto to any delicious recipe is love.”

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