I want the floppy raw paddles of flesh
pared into matchsticks
for the bowl in which I’ll mix them
with lime juice and a pinch of salt.
I wash the grit down the drain,
slice the obstinate guards that protect
the bright meat under dull green skin.
Cables of ooze when the skin is cut
stretch languidly when I take a slice,
and I slowly lick its saliva off my lips.
This quiets you in the kitchen
where we stand close enough our elbows brush.
Opuntia ficus-indica tossed in its readiness.
What machete hacked this nopal?
Who brought it to Vine and Santa Monica,
to my finger in the bowl,
deepening the green of the lime on our plates?