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Tulane Review - El Mesero

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Sculpted of iron, you glisten
with two silver teeth in front
like guard dogs,
knife shoulders, lank limbs,
in a dance of boyish elegance.

Ready to be of service.
Every motion honed to what's necessary.
The plate appears, but you let us look before you
place it down
with one practised, graceful movement
and a hinted smile
as if the good chef might be on vacation today.
We feel almost lucky to receive the food.

Although older now,
you slip effortlessly through the years.
You consider with thoughtful eyes,
as you tilt your head, leaning on one elbow.
You notice more with your butler body
than one would tell a best friend.

I have had to watch carefully to see
behind the duplicitous act
as I sit at my table, beside the silverware.
You smile to the obnoxious customer, swing your back
and swear, "Chinga tu madre," under your breath.

And once, you glanced over sideways,
as a friend bounded in, casually
bestowing me a hearty American hug.
I watched to see if you were jealous.
Then I knew.

Your eyes, only once,
looked hungry.

Judith Pordon
c 1994

C. 1994 Judith Pordon Published in Tulane Review - Vol XII, Issue 1 - Fall 2000