Rellenos de Papa

There's this place on Broadway
in Newburgh where I go for my fix
of Puerto Rican food
once in the bloodiest moon.

My grandmother's dead
and wasn't allowed near a stove
for the last decade of her life
for safety reasons.
My mother doesn't make
most of those country kitchen dishes
fried and basted in garlic.
Besides, her house is off-limits
since I'd speak my piece to her husband
once and for all and with legal ramifications.

Instead I barter with strangers
pointing at trays and forcing a stubborn tongue
to pronounce the nostalgic delicacies
of my youth, sneaking to my refrigerator
to savor a bite at a time
for precious days later.

If growing old is learning to lose
and filling the voids with distant replacements
then Peter Pan was right
though he shot over the moon.

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