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San Antonio

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.

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