Another weekend is starting, tarnished somewhat by the relentless specter of disease that never takes a holiday, and demands that those of us who have chosen this battle be also willing to carry on the fight 24/7. I’m fortunate in having two other doctors in my specialty sharing weekend work duties. We each take our own calls during the week, but this arrangement gives us the luxury of having to work only every third weekend. It could be a lot worse. It’s always better to be the doctor than to be the patient.
Southern California has a large Hispanic population, the bulk of who have come here from Mexico. Los Angeles is the second largest Spanish speaking city in North America, after Mexico City. Having lived and worked here as long as I have, I’ve grown to learn and appreciate the culture of our southern neighbor. Perhaps that’s the reason the following poem carries special meaning. Be well.
In the villages of central Mexico the poor
make belts of braided soft-drink tabs;
zucchini soup contains the stems
of flowers as well fruit.
In Mexico nothing is wasted, so
the darkest of their recipes for mole
calls for stale tortillas and the seeds
of ancho chilis burned to ash
and folded in. As if to guarantee
the taste of dust and ashes always
in one’s mouth. As if one needed
in Mexico, yet another reminder
of the presence of los muertos.