New World

 

Those were the nights of quiet stars,
of coffee brewing in the blue enamel pot
and you as always dressed in red,
singing 
Manisero–the peanut vendor’s song.
All evening I listened
while your friends’ playful fingers
rattled and tapped taut skins,
maracas, bright beads in hollow gourds,
tumbled rain in a cactus stalk. I tried.
But your tricky rhythms tripped me every time
scraping the guiro,
or awkwardly shaking something
as best I could yet always,
somehow out of sync