L C Gutierrez: “Tortilla de Patatas”


They cross the street and count off their fingers,

huevos y patatas,” remembering the ingredients.

And for a Spanish omelette there are but two:

eggs and potatoes.

And oil, and salt: though some add

onions. Asparagus, spinach, ham

and tuna are other options.

Those are the ingredients, and it is served

as an appetizer. Accompanied by beer

or wine, olives or croquettes. Though sometimes

it’s prepared for friends who visit,

or to bring to friends when you visit.

The ingredients will be the same,

but they don’t have to.

And sometimes it’s brought to the house

of the grieving, too distraught to cook for themselves,

after a nightlong vigil in the funeral home.

The ingredients then don’t matter much,

but they still do.

They cross the street again lugging

their two-wheeled, checkered grocery carts,

baguettes peeking out of the hoods.

There is the dull weight of the potato sack,

the fragile eggs floating on top,

and there is some embered kindness

in their kindling intention

to bring these to the stove.



LC Gutierrez is a product of many places in the South and the Caribbean, as well as writing and comparative literature programs at Louisiana State and Tulane University. An erstwhile academic, he now writes, teaches and plays trombone in Madrid, Spain. His work is most recently published or forthcoming in South Florida Poetry JournalSweet, Trampoline Journal, Hobart, Rabid Oak, and Hole in the Head Review.