I’m thinking about tamales tonight.
When I was a kid I ate them out of a can,
with ketchup. Shudder. It’s unthinkable.
I was a young fool. But I’m not thinking
about those tamales, if you could even
call them that, I’m thinking about
homemade tamales in December,
and the ritual of assembling them.
Place the damp husk in your palm,
then take spoon and spread the
moist masa, not too thick, not too thin.
It takes practice to get it just right.
Then the filling, maybe succulent
shreds of pork, a slice of jalapeno,
maybe some cheese, then wrap
them gently, snug and secure,
After the plate is heavy, they go
into the steamer, and the wait begins.
But it isn’t too bad because there is
a pot of beans on the counter,
cowboy beans, better than any
you’ve ever had, trust me, and
I could be happy eating bowl after bowl
of them—tender pink beans seasoned
with onions, garlic, cumin, bacon,
who knows what else, who cares,
they are magnificent and I’m glowing.
The tamales come out steaming,
piled high on the platter.
We dress them with fresh salsa,
and we eat too many, how can
we not. Soon we are lying
on the floor in the other room,
moaning softly, smiling, content.