It’s her first time in Beirut

so Maria wants an authentic dish, homespun

as a bowl of Aunt Chuca’s albondigas on a San Diego

orange hangover morning.

She who will not stomach menudo

squatting in the kitchen beside rounded corners of a manila fridge.


You see, she is la raza, the race of the cosmos,

those effervescent feathered serpents:

Her brown people

who tore from their pyramids laying waste

to her brown people,

until those who gave her a name

cast their horrible armor upon her shore.

Together they forged Mexican Highway 15, erecting a million steeples,

billions served.


Hers is a people

found and found again,

who pitch for the genuine article

and hunger

only for what the Sultan’s sons dine on,

what the monkey suited narguile boys take in

beneath Phoenician tapestries, and

she expects Lebanon’s beverage of choice.


Her mouth moist,

she bites into the Burger King,

the french fries and on her hotel veranda

Maria makes a promise to share a Pepsi with her abuela

the next time she visits.


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