The green chile chicken stew
from Cocina Azul
detests its plastic container
but survives the long ride home,
a two-minute zap in the microwave,
still grabs you by the throat
and tells you that its chiles
are the real deal,
its chicken really did simmer
all day long in the magic broth.
No such luck with the chile rellenos.
Whether stuffed with melted cheese,
carne asada, or both,
they abhor the styrofoam tray
the way nature abhors a vacuum,
the crisp golden batter of their inception
sucking the moisture out of the confines
of their temporary prison.
They arrive on the plate
as a sad concatenation of flour, water,
salt, lukewarm Anaheim chiles
to remind you that the world
is not as it should be–
that they deserved a quick trip
from fryer to table,
a quick dip in the killer red chile,
and a staccato delivery
to your drooling mouth
as soon and as steadily
as you could handle
their fragrant, steaming goodness.
C. T. Holte was born in Minnesota without color TV; played under bridges and in cornfields; went to lots of school; has had gigs as teacher, editor, and less wordy things. His poetry has appeared in places like Words, California Quarterly, Survival , The Raven’s Perch, Songs of Eretz, and Pensive, and has been hung from trees to celebrate the Rio Grande Bosque.