"Mariachi"
by Rachel Jennings


We are two Anglo schoolmarms,
mutually cross, out of sorts, attuned
to the mariachi at Gloria’s Restaurant
one late weekend morning in San Antonio.
With a lukewarm slice of toast, I swab
the last of my beans and huevos rancheros.
She nibbles the edge of a corn tortilla.
As usual, we talk politics—immigration,
the Border Wall, the Supreme Court.
We strive to right the new and old wrongs.
“I do admire this group,” she says, clapping
quietly, “but the horns are too much.
Strings are the traditional instruments.”
This friend chops off the residues of Maximilian
and Díaz like the rotten parts of an apple.
This plain-living neighbor, who composts olive pits
and palm fronds, recycles newspapers,
and reuses soda bottles
to water her herbs, cannot redeem
the regal customs. I put down
my coffee and listen. Sobbing trumpets soar
toward heaven’s gate,
that is, the weather-warped door
that goes unshut.






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