Tijuana Regrets
by Steve Meador

He was seven, maybe,
hidden under a dingy serape
and fraying sombrero,
a guitar strung with fishing line
strapped diagonally across his back.
“Do you know La Bamba?”
American arrogance strengthened
with Mexican Corona.

Unbelievably well, he strummed and sang
the whole thing, got the crumbling
Tijuana sidewalk jumping.
Flat-faced women squatted along the curb
and shook boxes of Chiclets, like maracas,
while their babies suckled to the rhythm.

He bopped over with his buddy, hand out,
and demanded three dollars for the song.
We didn’t pay.
They hung their heads
and slipped away.

At the corner we stopped
to have a photo taken,
seated bareback on a burro.
I looked back for the boys.
They were gone, likely headed
for a crash of their own.
Smile Senor. The camera clicked.
The burro brayed softly,
called me an ass.

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