Rio Grande

Bustelo black, cube of sugar-
I know why you have the answer,
I know how you see Earl Gray.
With honey and whole milk cream.
You see london fog in arid heat.
But he’s a rancher from Obispa,
and he’s just passing through.

He sips tequila and mutters nonsense.
Tells you death is the price we pay.
And you ponder a metaphor.
It’s to your town his reference is made.
A border town is not his pace.
Too many hues for the man Earl Gray.
A gila monster watches lurched in dirt.
He feeds it the scorpion inside his bottle.
He’s heading south in weathered skin.
It is proof enough his heart beats true.

You see this and, think about coco butter.
You offer Kahlua, some soothing liqueur.
He minds his tequila. Says save it Bustelo.
Your heart without veil wishes he heal.
You think about local men you know.
How trails to their heart embroider in china.

As you sift a round pan in fine white powder,
he thinks of brotherhood and unfinished work.
You slice some red velvet and fix him a plate.
He eats it promptly, and even says thanks.
And for a moment, he thinks it would be–.
Still, before either knew it, he was gone.

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