For Julius Soria and Lydia Abajo
It is a monthly ritual, this
regathering with our bruised bodies
and homing selves
we are about to lose in exile.
We go to Maharani to make time
for each other even when our lives
intersect with our worries
for what happens in the homeland.
It is the season of elections and death,
a national pastime we remember too well,
and with the masala dosa, we take courage
in imagining that, like tonight's pouring rain,
something good will come out
of this elaborate culinary ceremony
we gift to each other
and to ourselves, with each spoonful
of cardamon and cinnamon
and those other herbs that fill
our minds with hopes in multiples
of faith for each countryman
and for this easy friendship
we nurture the way we taste
this foreign food we will always
remember by the busy Beretania.
In the meantime tonight,
we celebrate this early evening hours
with the light rain on the sparkling
streets of our heavy, heady days.
After saying grace for the masala
chai that erases what aftertaste
there is, political and raging, in the buds,
we dream of a strange homeland, that, like
this rare night, will offer abundance
to our people in need who know
only famine and regret we have tried,
really tried, to leave behind.