The Alchemy of Fingertips, poetry by David Estringel at
Karolina Grabowska

The Alchemy of Fingertips

The Alchemy of Fingertips

written by: David Estringel



Long has it been since I’ve heard the shuffle of old slippers on the linoleum floor. The clanging of pans. Squeaks from the rolling pin. The thump…thump…thump of black stone on black stone—the molcajete—mashing cumino seeds, granos de pimiento negra, and cloves of garlic—with snaps and pops—into glorious salves that staved off hungers, deep and brash. I bless that heavenly transmutation—the thump…thump…thump that spun vulgar sundries into liquid gold. That elixir of lives, swirled with warm love and splashes of water from the tap, poured into pots—cauldrons of arroz con pollo, picadillo, carne guisada, and that pollo con calabaza I could never bring myself to eat—that set eyes and tongues aflame. But, the kitchen is quiet, now, with only the smell of black bananas in the fruit bowl, abandoned dishes on countertops, and—maybe—a sweaty piece of cheese that fell behind the stove. The molcajete is dry as a bone, grieving, quietly, in a corner next to the sink—no tears left to shed (slipped away like fistfuls of quicksilver)—with no philosopher’s stone to bring back the thump…thump…thump of this heart or home nor the alchemy of her fingertips.

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