The Monday Poem is brought to you by Professor Kristin Bensen-Hause of the English Department.
Contemplations at the Virgin de la Caridad Cafetería, Inc.
By Richard Blanco (1968 -)
Que será, el café of this holy, incorporated place,
the wild steam of scorched espresso cakes rising
like mirages from the aromatic waste, waving
over the coffee-glossed lips of these faces
assembled for a standing breakfast of nostalgia,
of tastes that swirl with the delicacy of memories
in these forty-cent cups of brown sugar histories,
in the swirling froth of café-con-leche, que será,
what have they seen that they cannot forget—
the broad-leaf waves of tabaco and plantains
the clay dust of red and nameless mountains,
que será, that this morning I too am a speck;
I am the brilliant guitar of a tropical morning
speaking Spanish and ribboning through potions
of waist-high steam and green cane oceans,
que será, drums vanishing and returning,
the African gods that rule a rhythmic land
playing their music: bongó, bembé, conga;
que será, that cast the spells of this rumba,
this wild birthright, this tropical dance
with the palms of this exotic confusion;
que será, that I too should be a question,
que será, what have I seen, what do I know—
culture of café and loss, this place I call home.
Blanco, Richard. “Contemplations at the Virgin de la Caridad Cafeteria, Inc.” Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/57953/contemplations-at-the-virgin-de-la-caridad-cafeteria-inc-56d23be8d35dc. Accessed 12 October 2018.