Laurita Dianita

Reflections and art on the topics of public health, social justice, and love

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A recipe poem: Salsa Verde Para Mi Amor

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Salsa Verde Para Mi Amor

1.)  Boil the jalapeños:

Yeah, seeds and all.
I mean, I know you’re Colombiano
y no se come picante allí,
but you know that story your mama tells?
The one where your abuela
made the sopa without cilantro
“for Nachito”
and your mama put the cilantro back in
(she flicks her hand as she re-enacts it)
because she knew she’d be eating with him
for the rest of their lives?
since I’m your future wifey
and you’re the chaparro de mi vida
and I’m your aguacate tree
growing in Alaska
to whose roots—and fruit—
you will come flying back
and we will sit across kitchen tables
from one another
for the rest of our days,
pues, te tendrás que acostumbrar.

2.)  Slice the onion:
And try placing it in the blender
but poniéndome aguila
because before I know it
you’ll kiss me with that onion
on your breath,
whole slices tucked away
into your teeth.
I’ll say “¡Guácala!”
and never understand it,
how you find the sweet
in its so acrid flesh.
But I quietly admire you for it,
this iron mouth of yours,
the way you see through
even the worst.

3.)  Skin and mash the garlic:
And this too I must guard
from your habit of drinking it
with cayenne and
waiting to do so, of course,
until I’m soon to come over.
The smell of it:
“Ay, Oscar, ¿Porqué
lo tenías que comer ahora
before kissing me?”
And I search out the line
between asking you
to be considerate
and control.
Then toss the garlic in the blender
with everything else.

4.)  Enjoy:
Disfrútala, with fish, with sopa,
with cuidado, mi Colombiano.
I learned in the cloud forest,
the Sierra Sur of Oaxaca,
from a small woman who
cooked her beans in a clay pot,
to make salsa verde sin tomate.
Y así, mi amor,
when you eat it,
the sweat beads up,
glints of light over the
redenning skin,
across your brow,
across your nose—
your nose, mi amor,
that perfect bridge of shadow
and light
that bridge of indígena and
None of our ancestors
ate like this,
the people of wheat,
the people of potatoes.
But we are adaptors
and you sweat your way through it
like we work our way through
each other
building bridges across
continents and
spirits and
from which we’ll create children
to pass the recipe on,
learning, over time,
to endure.


I was inspired to write this because a creative little girl who I taught in math was surprised when I told her that her poetry teacher, Ashley Skabar, was also a professional food writer. She asked, “Does Miss Ashley write her recipes as poems?” I replied, “I don’t think so, but that’s a great idea,” and I went home and began working on this recipe-poem. I am bringing the original to Oscar, drawings and cursive and all, for part of an anniversary gift. We will celebrate our anniversary together in Jalisco, México, eating comida picosa, camping, biking, swimming in rivers, reading the stars.

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May 18th, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Posted in love

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