Charles Rammelkamp 


They've picked all the produce 
up in Leelanau, 
every spear of asparagus, 
every cherry from every tree 
in every orchard 
from Glen Arbor to Northport, 
stripped every thicket, every farmer's field 
from Sutton's Bay to the Big Lake. 
Like an infestation of locusts 
the migrants come up every summer 
from Texas in their beat-up trucks 
and jimmy-fixed jalopies 
to glean the fields, gather the fruit. 

Now that they've finished 
they prepare a celebration, 
a toast to the earth and its bounty. 
Rigoberto wraps the cavrito 
in a double thickness of wet burlap bag 
as though preparing a corpse 
and buries his burden in the barbecue pit. 
Once the goat has been smoldered 
they'll wrap the tender meat 
in flour tortillas, 
like little mummies. 
His wife Josefina grills the tripas, 
strips of cow stomach 
fried on hot coals, sizzling like sinners in hell. 
Tia Olivia prepares mole and menuda. 
Little Conchita cooks the frijoles. 
A magnificent meal is about to begin. 

Rigoberto contemplates the bare fields 
next to where the Holsteins graze. 
They've harvested the fruits and received their wages. 
Tomorrow they move on to Bay City 
to pick cucumbers in the thumb peninsula. 

Rigoberto sips his cerveza. 
The sun sinks like a nosebleed 
behind the tall silo and the tops of trees, 
a drop of red spreading 
over the lip of the horizon. 
How far away home seems 
when the sun goes down. 

Copyright 1994, Charles Rammelkamp 

Charles Rammelkamp is an adjunct English professor at Essex Community College. His work has appeared in more print and on-line journals than he can keep track of, including: Chiron Review, Comstock Review, Happy, Princeton Arts Review, Wings (all print) and Cyber Oasis and Wings (on-line). "Fiesta" was first published in Exit 13

Switched-on Gutenberg/Vol. 4, No. 2 

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