#117

Martha Rich
After Dinner with Ted at the High Noon Café by Nonnie Augustine
Cheese enchiladas and High Noon Margaritas 
and our evening felt good. His arm on my waist,
we strolled around Old Town in the sweet desert cool
of an Albuquerque summer’s Saturday night.
Our knees weak from laughing, eager for each other
we left the bright square, with its crowd of turistas,
and turned the corner to my dark cobbled street.
Footloose, I stumbled in my blue high-heeled sandals.
 
As Ted caught and kissed me, I glanced past his shoulder 
to see young Emilio standing under his porch light 
in a blood-spattered shirt. 
Against his thigh dangled 
the glint of a knife.
He swayed from cerveza and cried “Mi hermano!” 
I saw his brother, Tomás, collapsed at his feet.
From inside their casa, I heard women shriek.
 
I’d an impulse to help and moved toward the chaos
but Ted held me back and soon sirens grew loud. 
Long hours later, we watched from the shadows 
as the police took Emilio and his brother away.
Green chili and tequila tumbled inside me, 
in the sad, sobered quiet of my city’s Old Town.
 
 
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