Seven Years in Laredo

by Kendall Witherspoon
The Waters
Honorable Mention, May 2017
Judged by R.T. Castleberry

One-hundred five degrees. Sweat puddled
under callused toes. Dust covered every tree leaf.
Rain held hostage by armies of heat waves.
I swept the furniture, unplugged the fan when
moving air cut. Spoon-fed my father, watered his dogs,
shed the woman I was too fast to love.
Sometimes I’d escape, take a cab to Rositas,
the only place that served whiskey margaritas.
Let them melt down my singed tongue, into my burned
out brain. The Mexican waitresses, always those short black skirts
and red bras, knew all about my father, the rescued cat,
his damn Chihuahuas, the woman and my habit of rushing to love.
Back home, before porch lights, I’d tinker, make tacos, change dad’s
diaper, sit on the veranda with a cat in my lap, beer in hand.
Watch the neighbor’s lives fill up with drought and loss.