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.

The Monday Poem logoBlanco, Richard. “Contemplations at the Virgin de la Caridad Cafeteria, Inc.” Poetry Foundation, Accessed 12 October 2018.