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Homemade Hot Sauce

for mom


Mother goes out on the hunt

In search of prime specimens

Little red peppers

Some green

Her market of choice

A vegetable post by the side of the road

Year after year you can find

The old man there

Under a perennial baking sun

His makeshift market in the wind

Mother slowly stalks the produce

Scrutinizes the baby bananas

Pores over the vianda

Pauses to ask if I’d like her

To cook some for dinner

Then analyzes the aguacates

Turning them over

Squeezing them lightly as they rest

In the palm of her wrinkled hand

Finally she comes up on them

Chubby as plum tomatoes

Their skins shiny

Smooth as plastic

Their fiery nature screaming

From inside glad sandwich bags

Where they hang on a tree


Back home mother

Patiently washes each one

Grinds up spices with her

Wooden mortar and pestle

Pounds with such force

The hanging pictures

Over the dinner table

All dance to her cooking drum

And when her concert has ended

She packs them into

An old vinegar bottle

Adds a fresh splash of vinegar to the mix

Then promptly places

Her concoction out doors to ferment

Under a Puerto Rican sun






[Originally published in NHS 2008, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs08/Nancy_Mercado.htm.]