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