is hot asphalt in early February
A fuzzy version of Hey Baby Que Paso?
on Tejano & Proud one-oh-seven-point-five
heard from a Dodge Ram with windows down
Murals of Manu Ginobili & Emma Tenayuca
that spring up like rain lilies on the West Side
A mosaic vela of La Virgen that makes
you reconsider Catholicism
Grackles that collect on sagging power lines
like a beaded obsidian necklace
Umbrellas line the Riverwalk
like a rainbow snake and Christmas
lights fall from the trees like a cascarón
cracked open, string of bright
confetti suspended mid air
Familias at Brackenridge Park, shrouded
by clouds of barbeque smoke
that smear the oak trees for hours
Every panadería has wood paneling
and calendars illustrated with Prince
Popocatépetl. Yes, this city is hearing
an accordian that makes all the ghosts
inside you feel like stars made of punched
tin. It’s stirring your margarita with a chamoy-coated
straw, a cosmic swirl of orange and red that strips you
like a cebolla & makes you blush neon.
My Zapata Mustached Man
We danced in the Maverick Plaza,
surrounded by old couples in lawn chairs
and papel picado waving in the breeze
like the white flag surrender of my heart.
It was July and you lapped me up
like the salt on the rim of the Dos XX
you shouldn’t be drinking cause it upsets your stomach.
It was only us under a string of jalepeño-shaped lights.
For you, I pretended to know how to cumbia.
Your love, long and elegant like Flaco Jimenez’s accordion.
Like the sound of Tejano synthesizers in an empty dance hall.
Like what I imagine the last call looks like at Sombras nightclub.
The club I overheard my parents mention in the car rides
of my childhood. I imagine men with glossy eyes in ranchero hats
and women that look like my tía on my father’s side
exchanging glances near the entrance.
Ford F-150s surround the club
like a game of red robin.
This is what our lives were like together:
Outline of a knife in Levi jeans,
burn of the first kiss with a stranger,
sound of boot against cigarette filter.
Gravel sizzling like pop rocks.
Claudia Delfina Cardona is a poet from San Antonio, TX. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Texas State University. She is the Editor and Co-Founder of Chifladazine and Infrarrealistas Review, a Texan literary journal. Cardona's poems can be found in Cosmonauts Avenue and Apogee Journal. She has a poem forthcoming in Salt Hill Journal and an interview in Vogue Magazine.