By George Yatchisin
St. Marks’ in Venice has its dueling orchestras—
what passes for a business crossroads
on the savory westside of my town
has dueling planchas you can practically smell
sizzle each morning, firing up chiles
for a day of salsas, roasting onions
clear of their tears. In pots steaming
meats made of cuts my mother never
faced cellophaned at her supermarket
one finds a land where jelled and tasty
don’t need a translator to dance.
Sure, in spring I awake with jasmine
pungent outside my bedroom,
almost too much, like a pre-teen
over-doused in his dad’s cologne.
But I opt to run, loving the few blocks
away where my neighborhood
will hold me tight like a tortilla
that the one spot’s best cook never
fails to leave on the grill to warm,
to let its secret scents out to all.
George Yatchisin is the author of Feast Days (Flutter Press 2016) and The First Night We Thought the World Would End (Brandenburg Press 2019). He is co-editor of Rare Feathers: Poems on Birds & Art (Gunpowder Press 2015), and his poetry appears in anthologies including Reel Verse: Poems About the Movies (Everyman’s Library 2019). Also by this poet: "Pandemic Domestic" and "Even on a Marine Layer Day"