Huerfano, Sanchez calls him.
Sanchez knows only the Spanish
he learned right after he was born
in Seattle, where it is snowing now.
Half a foot a year and here’s
two feet in no time.
Huerfano, Sanchez says,
Give me a ride downtown.
Sanchez hustles pool.
Huerfano will never retire.
They are both too old to score.
Sanchez has no squeeze,
Marge was always Huerfano’s,
her body still streamlined
all these years later after stir.
She rides along with them.
First she paints her nails,
mascaras her eyes, rouge
and lipstick thick. Marge was
very good at what she used to do.
She and Huerfano sit a while
watching Sanchez, who wins
the first match. He likes to growl
while he walks around, sizing up
a shot. Huerfano steals away
with Marge. They go see his pal,
who calls himself Cherokee.
He’s as white as a gringo, Sanchez
insists on otherwise rainy days.
Cherokee is on crutches, he has
little to say, won’t talk about why
he’s this way, and Marge teases,
You musta hustled some guy’s girl.
She knows he’s gay (we used to say
fairy), she likes to put him on,
it’s sport for Marge who fucks
with abandon still, her going rate
bottoming out with her age
advancing. Cherokee has a gig
playing The Golden Lion,
charming a live python,
letting it wrap around his neck,
stripping until some mac shouts
a warning, and the act
begins to end.
Huerfano bids him good luck
and they go
to collect Sanchez in time
to talk him out of risking debt
to recoup his losses for the day.
On the drive to Everett
Marge sits with Sanchez
in the back seat.
He must have a few bills left,
she kisses Huerfano bye bye
and tells him when to pick her up,
Sanchez thanks him and they go
to do what she still does best.
Huerfano goes home alone,
but not for long. The landlady’s
home. She pours him a drink.
Huerfano tells her how years
go by and nothing changes.
She says, How ’bout this weather?
Perfect segue to start the clock
paying down the rent.
(18 January 2012)
copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander