Texas plates. The way he leers and drapes
his golfer’s arm across the vacant seat,
steering the wheel of his open-topped sedan
with one fat finger; it seems so familiar...
Like those times he used to trawl Houston at night,
searching for hours until some poor bonita,
fresh from a dance, stopped and turned to talk,
her cheeks flushed, with frills and thrills in her skirts.
on the cleaner’s neck
These are his thoughts as he reaches Agua Fria
and Guadalupe on his morning run,
his sexless wife of bones soaking the sun
on the portal of their fake adobe home.
the eggshell blue
He likes to stop, then crawl again to tease
the over-eager, watching them jostle each other
like starved rats before three sullen huevos
muscle out of the shadows into the light.
the straight and narrow
of Sharpie lines—
old gang tattoo
He calls the tallest over with his hand,
then drives away with his worker for the day—
to re-pot plants, to rod the septic tank,
to sweep the decks, and disinfect the drains.
of her eye shadow
The corner settles back into the shade
for as long as it takes—perhaps an hour or a week—
for a car to slow and offer dignity;
for as long as it takes, no frills, just waiting for work.
laid off again
my father swears
me to secrecy
is the author of Lessons for Tangueros (poetry), Marcel Malone
(novel), and Tick Tock (haibun collection). His haibun have been widely
published and anthologized, and in 2019 he was elected into the New Resonance
community of haiku poets. Originally from Wales, he now lives in Chicago, USA.