December 2013

El Pesebre Motel

It was just a sleep over,
get Bacchus off my back,
avoid the drunk tank.
Room # 9, down the hall
offered a soothing tapping spigot,
rustlings of crawlies
in wall spaces: And

in the next room a Mexican soap,
the nervous giggle of a veteran
cantinera and the low mumblings
of Garcita.

Juanita and Garcita
pretend lovers for a single night . . .
“No Garcita, no me pegues así,” she
giggles – more like an invitation.
“No Garcita!” the sentiment of a novella unfolding in the next room
“No me pegues . . .”

I turn the TV on, blot out the noise.
An old WWII movie – air raid –
aircraft carriers, Pacific theater;
I try to get some sleep.

“¡No Garcita . . . así no! No me gusta así . . .
¡Ay NO! No me golpees!
¡No Garcita . . . NO!
¡ No . . . no . . . no
ay . . . Ahhh . . . Ahhhhh . . .”

World War II is over. John Wayne
clutches a Medal of Honor,
I toss aside the covers
turn off the TV but snowdrifts
creep through the transparent wall –
the turn of the knob, sluggish footfalls,
an exit.

I drown my face in the pillows . . .

In the morning, sirens stir the mice
across the sheet; at the end of the hall
a wreath of yellow crime scene tape
crisscrosses door #10.

—David Solís

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