New World


Those were the nights of quiet stars,
of coffee brewing in the blue enamel pot
and you as always dressed in red,
Manisero–the peanut vendor’s song.
All evening I listened
while your friends’ playful fingers
rattled and tapped taut skins,
maracas, bright beads in hollow gourds,
tumbled rain in a cactus stalk. I tried.
But your tricky rhythms tripped me every time
scraping the guiro,
or awkwardly shaking something
as best I could yet always,
somehow out of sync

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