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When I Said Goodbye

Didi Menendez

I was making arroz con pollo.
I was making espumita for my café.
I was stirring the pot while the gizzards
and neck wrapped in cellophane
waited to become crisp in hot olive oil.

I was grinding garlic into the oregano with a mortar.
I was sipping Robert Mondavi chardonnay.

My daughter sucked the juice out of all the limes.

I drove to Publix for new limes.
They were on special four for a dollar.
I contemplated Double Stuff Oreo cookies.
I waited for the check out girl to break my twenty.
The grocery bagger said hello to my children.
The grocery bagger asked if I needed help.
I wanted to say yes.
I need help.

I used the change to fill my Cherokee.
When I said goodbye,

There was a bald man sending me poetry.
There was a monk in Tibet dancing to poetry.
There was a lonely woman in San Francisco
jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.

When I made it back to the arroz con pollo,
I rejected the bald man's poetry.
I was not empathetic.
I turned off the music.
I turned on the stove.
I fed the turtles.
I gave some nibbles to the dogs.
I threw a bone to the cat.
I looked outside my kitchen window.
The mango tree is still barren.

You with your full head of hair.
You with your perfect smile.

Me left to suck on a chicken neck alone.

Didi Menendez

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