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Panama Dream – by Scott Caputo

Posted on Jul 20, 2017 by in August 2017 |

Anoche cuando dormía
soñé ¡bendita ilusión!
Antonio Machado

The third hustler follows us, asking for pesos,
as we try to stroll the early evening streets of Mazatlan.
We escape onto a pulmonia riding by.

We swim through the gush of open air.
A wild mix of aromas—salty, sweet, spicy–
as the cart jabs hard down another side street.

Our first trip together as husband and wife,
both of us in a new place,
our fingers exploring the feel of our rings.

We hop off at Panamá. The dining room buzzes
with Spanish voices, bueno, bueno, sí, sí.
No one speaks English. No English menus.

Melissa and I study the entrée list
with dictionary in hand, the murmur of foreign
conversation is both frightening and exhilarating

like wading farther and deeper into the ocean.
Earlier that day, we had wandered through old town,
found a bookstore and an untranslated volume

of Machado poetry, words I could not read,
but I could imagine the beehive,
the golden bees spinning honey inside.

que una colmena tenía
dentro de mi corazón;
blanca cera y dulce miel

Two plates come of carne asada atop corn sopés
with a trio of red, green and yellow salsas.
Everything is drenched, flavorful beyond

any Mexican food from back home.
Home where our living room is full of boxes.
The merging of mine and hers into ours.

No one tells you how it should go.
The dessert cart rolls by like a magical carriage,
stacked cakes, frosted, drenched in tres leches.

I choose the plum cake dotted with purple domes,
my wife grabs a piece of flan de kaki,
caramel flan topped with dark chocolate cake.

We share bites, eager to taste each other.
Can every night be like this?
Kisses sweet with sticky cajeta.

The taxi ride back in the dark
my wife presses into me
into an air of dreams

of lamps turning on and off,
of friends coming and going,
of endless breakfasts and dinners,

our shared breaths and heart beats,
my wife’s stomach full and bare,
inside, the bees building their white combs.