Lunch with Penelope

Penelope Cruz
Wins the raffle
To have lunch with me

I bring my tuba
To the restaurant

Penelope arrives late

I’ve been hiding behind this cross
Since the 16th century
I’m a converso
She confesses

You alone know this
She says
And starts reading the menu

But she has forgotten something:
The nautilus shell in which she was born

Before we can order
Pedro Almodovar arrives
Smelling of night-blooming jasmine

Speaking ladino
He says:
This is not a kosher restaurant

Penelope blows a few sad notes on my tuba
And reluctantly departs

What’s up with Penelope?
She did not tear up her birth certificate
She did not tell me my name
She did not beg me for an autograph

I eat my lunch alone
Fatter and hungrier by the hour

                                                            -- New York, October 8, 2010

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