Ode to a Burrito
inner moistness, the intermarriage of warm cheese and pico
de gallo: tomatoes, cilantro, onions, lime, a hint of salt.
the meaty rigidity of the structure of a bean--its shape pushing
back on your tongue, firm outside, tender inside, black or pinto
whole. But refried is brown sweetness, another suitor
for the queso melted into its depths--yes, some days just bean and
cheese are enough. Other days you wake in your bed with tender
red meat in your eyes, carne asada delicately spiced, sliced,
between rice and tomatoes diced. you tear at beef with your
teeth, gnashing that perfect bite, that one mouthful of meat, bean,
cheese, sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo, rice, hugged at
all corners with a light yet sturdy flour wrapper, the tortilla to
end all tortillas for anyone else, the tortilla of life and death, the
beginning and the ending of the meal that completes your story,
its interiors full of surprises and mysteries that get all mixed up,
twisted into something different than its individual parts, better,
more life-affirming, the way to live is to keep on living, with all
that we have within us, our light yet sturdy flour wrappers.
Itchy eyes, nose clogged with snot, sneeze after sneeze:
I was not bred for midwestern grains, spores in air;
A splotchy rash on the back of my legs, do I have fleas?
Perhaps it’s to do with the shirt and shorts six times I wear.
Ninety degrees and humid, under the sun’s husky glare;
Today I move red bricks from one stack to another stack,
Which is the same as yesterday. 150 is about all I can bear--
A tower of bricks to the sky, a well, lying on one’s back.
Birds buzz all day, all night; bugs crawl in from every crack;
A cricket under my bed keeps me from sleep, but the bat,
The cloudy water, the buzzing mosquitoes, have a knack
For making me want to dive headfirst in the Monsanto Platte.
Frog, toad, squirrel, moth, deer, grasshopper, moles newborn;
This is the heartland that the coasts forget, but eat its corn.
Jeanette Quick lives in San Francisco. Her work has been published in Rat's Ass Review, The Curious Element, The Bright Line, Penumbra, The Tax Lawyer, District Lines, and the American Banker. She has earned residencies from OBRAS Portugal, Elsewhere Studios, Art Farm, and Sundress Academy for the Arts. She was a finalist in the ARDOR Flash Fiction Contest, Women on Writing, and the 39th and 41st New Millennium Writings contests for flash fiction. She holds a Jurisdoctorate from Georgetown University Law Center and a Bachelor of Arts from University of California, Berkeley. She regularly contributes theater reviews to DC Metro Theater Arts.