All in a Pot
By Michael Shoemaker
One November late afternoon
fell on white sidewalks
on a dead-end street.
My missionary companion and I
in the city of Córdoba, Argentina
pressed our bicycle hand brakes
seeing something we had never
A man at the end of the street was stirring
something in a huge pot over a wood stove.
I asked him, “What is this?”
Without looking up, he replied, “A pot.”
It was a fair answer,
but not satisfying.
I asked, “What’s it for?”
Not looking up and with a dragging
tiredness he said, “Comida, comida.”
“For food, for food.”
Not wanting to bother him and
appreciating his economy of words
we withdrew our bikes to the curb
to watch a scene unfold.
A young girl skipped by
handing the man
a soft ball-sized white onion.
Chop, chop, chop and in the stew.
Young and old came with
lima beans, diced tomatoes, radishes,
beets, carrots, peas, squash, potatoes
and a butcher found some ends of beef.
All who gave one thing
returned and partook
of what seemed to be
new and everything.
Laughing, clinking of glasses, guitars and singing
could be heard wafting with wind through open verandas
while all who used to be only one were now all filled together.