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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 6: January 2021
Haibun: 240 words
By Lew Watts

Cruising Downtown Santa Fe


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... 

		old thunderbird

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. 

	fresh bruises 
	on the cleaner’s neck 
	no-tell motel 

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 


Lew Watts
Issue 6, January 2021

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.

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