Alcachofa

Tonight I had dinner with my new housemates. Jonathan grilled up a platter of chicken breasts.

I have four housemates.

Daniel is Jonathan's foster son. He's Honduran, and very campy. He'd stretch out his arm to its full length and dangle his fingertips in my direction to articulate his feelings on whatever the group was talking about. He's just here for the summer.

Gina lives beneath me. She's blonde, mid-thirties, and has a full sleeve. She speaks softly and had struck me as indifferent previously, but now I think she's very earnest. She was so excited to teach me how to eat a steamed artichoke, how to peel away the ears, scrape them with my teeth, remove the thistles over the too-hot heart.

Olf is a German dentist who's known Jonathan for fifteen years, since he was just twenty one, moving into the house a stranger the same way I have—after a long interview. He takes the ferry into San Francisco every day.

Jonathan is Jonathan.

Sitting down to eat with strangers, you never want to be the first to begin. I saw Daniel reaching up and thought they might be about to pray, but it turns out he was just doing a little pirouette move from his seat. Jonathan asked me a couple questions about Cuba and my family, and somehow just as we dug in we were on the subject of Victor Jara, the Chilean guitarist. Everybody crunching into chicken breast as Jonathan explained that for organizing the protestors at the Estadio Chile, they cut off Jara's hands.

By the end of the evening, we were trying to piece together Neruda's Oda a la Alcachofa.

Terminando en paz, asî, con el vegetal armado...

After dinner I paced around up here on the warm carpet feeling peaceful but like I hadn't eaten anything.