On a bruised cutting board
I might have tossed years ago,
Stalks of cilantro.
Awaiting my fingers,
My picking, my slicing,
And just the right moment.
A congregation of red onions, kidney beans,
Oregano, cumin, garlic,
And tonight's chili.
Like membrane between worlds
These frail green leaves cling to
My damp hands.
How easily this skin
Releases its stem!
How unhesitatingly I'm thinking
About other losses.
I put down the once sharp knife
To pull cilantro from my knuckles.
I confess it happens almost
Every time I pull cilantro
From the bin I wonder:
What difference could this make?
This fragile membrane between
So easily plucked from its stem,
Its root, its past, its home?
I will go on faith--
That tonight will be like other nights,
That the recipe has wisdom, purpose,
That the chili on the stove needs,
Rejoices, delights in cilantro.
This cannot be rushed,
This picking of leaf from stem,
This gathering of gratitude.
I will go on faith.
It's all I've got.