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All in a Pot

By Michael Shoemaker

One November late afternoon

slanted shadows

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

seen before.

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.


Michael Shoemaker is a poet, writer, and photographer. His writing has appeared in Ancient Paths Literary Journal, The Clayjar Review, Front Porch Review, Littoral Magazine, Pure Slush: Achievement Anthology and elsewhere. He lives in Magna, Utah with his wife, and son where he enjoys looking out on the Great Salt Lake every day. Michael enjoys hiking, pickleball and tennis. He is looking forward to poems being published in Poetry Pacific Anthology in 2024. His online photography portfolio can be visited here.
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