The taqueria doubles as a car wash.
You're asleep in the backseat
when we pull in. Sun glints
off of tinted Suburban windows.
Iced tea in a Styrofoam cup
too big for our rented cup-holders.
The flour tortillas are homemade
and the salsa tingles my tongue.
Next year we'll sit at a Formica table
and cut a bean-and-cheese into wedges
your pudgy fingers can hold.
We'll wipe your ecstatic face clean.
Now all we can do is rave quietly
about this dingy corner of heaven
and drive away, keeping secret
what sustenance remains in store.
Last Wednesday morning, in San Antonio, Ethan and I went looking for a particular taqueria which my sister-in-law had recommended for breakfast tacos. We didn't find it, but we found another place, and the parking lot was full, so we pulled in. The tacos were so terrific that we returned there the following morning, too.
Visiting Texas always offers me an opportunity to replenish the part of me which misses the place where I grew up. The sounds of south Texas birdsong, the scent of my parents' neighborhood streets after a rain, the tastes of the Tex-Mex I grew up on -- all of these are rich and evocative for me. This time, the trip had a new valance, because it was my first chance to begin introducing Drew to the place where I grew up.
He won't remember this first trip to Texas, of course, but the rest of our family will. I hope that in years to come, the accrued memories of annual trips to San Antonio will be food for his heart too, as they are for mine.
This is the latest in my series of mother poems.