Grilled corn-on-the-cob, elotes
piled in a pyramid, a Teotihuacan
of elotes for sale to peckish time-killers
like me, idlers, pavement beaters.

But the cobs closest to the gods
are cold and the load-bearing
foundation cobs charred.

I can’t ask this señora, her plaits
silvered with ages, her skin
the blue-rivered tissue of time,
to extract the warm, unsooty elote
I crave

can’t ask her, cob architect,
worshipper of the Sun God, in her blouse
alight with dandelions, to demolish
the pyramid of maize, to raze
an empire.

She waits, in one hand tongs turning,
lifting, positioning cobs, in the other
a lime ready to squeeze, as I brood on
heavens and hells

the principles of architecture, laws
of thermodynamics and the impossibility
of ever, ever buying a perfect elote
without bringing down
an entire civilization.




To love (v), fall out of, takes months, years, forever.
You’d prefer to dislove quick but English only lets you dislike
and that’s nowhere near far enough when

he doesn’t write, discomposes you with Latin purpose
and the syllabic speed of a ‘dis’ and you long
to ‘desamar’ Spanish style, dis your love as fast

as you’d dismount a horse, dislocate a shoulder
or disconnect a modem. Preferably faster than
you’d dismantle a bed, dispose of a corpse or

disregard the truth and faster, much faster
than you’d disestablish a church or distil
Jude the Obscure into a single paragraph

of plot less dismal than your urge
to sieve his silence for little bits of gold
disguised as stone.


Rebecca Reader has spent much of the year writing poems about Mexico and the surrealist artist Leonora Carrington for her MA at the IIML. Her work has appeared in Landfall, Takahē and Mslexia. One of her poems has made it across the Pacific and will appear in the Mexican anthology Solamente en San Miguel.