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A Simple Cuban Meal
By Rafael Campo


We gather at the table, even those
who left us long ago. We eat roast pork,
black beans and rice, and tell the story of
the avocado tree that had to be
cut down, that took so many years to bear --
but once it did, how generous it was!
I see Abuela halving one, sharp knife
through soft green flesh; she'd gather them beneath
a shade so dense I thought it permanent.
A freak windstorm felled it. It listed like
a sinking ship a week or two before
the man came with his chainsaw. "Memories,"
she'd shrug, when I spoke wistfully of it.
She never seemed to miss that tree, although
it was a few more years after she died
before we'd have an avocado in
a salad. Tasting it, I understand
how little pleasure teaches us in life.
Much more honorable is sacrifice.

--------

From Sunday's Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World, on how epic poetry may contain history on a grand scale but "lyric poetry also contains history, on a domestic scale," in the words of Robert Pinsky, who writes that Campo's new book, The Enemy, "along with poems responding to the 9/11 attacks and the war in Iraq," contains this poem "about the way a family dinner includes people who are no longer present in body...his fluent unrhymed pentameters, with their plainspoken quality, recall the same measure in Robert Frost's great blank verse poems 'The Death of the Hired Man' and 'Home Burial.'"

Very domestic Saturday...finally mostly caught up on e-mails, correspondence and LJ comments, though not phone calls, Trek news or reading other people's journals! Older son volunteered in Hebrew school in the morning and younger son had soccer in the afternoon, so had stretches with just one child in the house, and they wanted nothing more than to catch up on Runescape when they had computers to themselves so they were mostly out of my hair. I folded five, count 'em, five loads of laundry (I hate socks OMG) while watching Eragon on DVD; it is still very bad, and there are still so many different ways to slash it that I don't even care. (It's supposed to pour here on Sunday and family is making noise about seeing Blades of Glory, much to my surprise, and I am counting on that being even more homoerotic to make up for what are sure to be its shortcomings.)


A fruit bat with a baby at the Bristol Zoo.


I'm afraid there was something of an orgy going on in the insect house.


A curious lemur...


...and a monkey seemingly uninterested in his fans.


Clearly not all the residents of Birdland were as friendly as the penguins.


Yet the park is very beautiful.


And some of its inhabitants are quite exotic.


Let's see...wrote some silly Trek-related news like The Black Donnellys being cancelled, ate some leftover Cadbury, took a walk to see the spring flowers before the rain washes them away. If I have other news, I've forgotten, as the recovery time from this trip is apparently longer than usual due to having my body clock completely reversed (I haven't been quite this tired since being postpartum). Shall sleep and ponder whether Prince William broke up with Kate Thingy because he caught a glimpse of me across London and fell hopelessly in love...

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