Iowa Writes

"En La Bodega"

I imagine bananas hanging in the window
And men, mostly, sitting around
Sharing cigarettes, sneaky pete and gossip.

Relief mothers coming at twelve
With the number for last night's dreams
To play for a quarter or fifty cents — not a dollar.

En la bodega, one buys the long and short:
Rice, island fruit and vegetables
Bad fish from Brooklyn and Schaefer's beer.

I imagine you there at, say, La Perla del Caribe,
Dressed as a ballerina, rag doll with yellow hair in tow,
In search of Love and Coco Rico.

But, let's say, that was the summer of 1957
And you were on an errand.
Love en la bodega is expensive and coconut soda costs a dime.

About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

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Fredrick Woodard is a former co-editor of The Iowa Review and is currently Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Iowa. He has a collection of essays on Mark Twain forthcoming from Duke University Press.

"En La Bodega," originally published in the Winter 1991 (21.1.) issue of The Iowa Review, can be found on the magazine's online archives.

This page was first displayed
on August 16, 2013

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