Pablo Neruda was an intense guy.
We found him in some mom & pop Mexican place in San Antonio,
scribbling on a napkin,
burning the place down wherever he parked his heart.
We paid for his breakfast.
Ginny let her shawl fall off one shoulder,
and the guy looked like he might slip right into her skin
and stay there, if he could have.
There is always something feminine about a man who can write;
something feminine, too, about a man who really adores women.
We sense it.
We're like birds who see our island and head for it without another thought.
I'm not saying he wasn't a man--
Ginny couldn't shut up about him, the rest of the trip,
like he had lit her, and she kept going off in spectacular colors.
The bluebonnets were out, in all the fields by the highway.
They only grow in Texas, and we stopped to stretch out in them,
drown in them
like a bunch of boho dolphins, sleek and weird,
gloriously out of our element.
When we got close to Dallas, we stopped in Waxahachie.
Ginny was asleep in the back, and Neruda stayed with her,
his arm around her like a mesquite branch across the early sun.
She was wearing red, and if you ask me,
he wanted to suck her like a strawberry,
but was too protective of her Gypsy dreams to wake her.
At the washeteria, we scavenged empty soap jugs
and weaseled a last load out of them.
Federico Garcia Lorca was there, half sprawled across two plastic chairs,
high as a kite, his hair a mess, his mind a marvel of the age.
I kissed him as a sister would,
to get him to join us, and he did.
I kept close, whispering him my poems,
taking the wheel as we crossed north into Oklahoma.
You will find the right man, I told him,
even though he didn't speak English.
In Spanish, he told me I had already found the right woman,
but that she was hidden,
riding in the night-pocket of God's long sweater,
howling at the stars.
That was when I knew I liked Federico better,
though I was careful never to let Neruda see it.
Anyway, he had Ginny,
and we all had the white stripes going by beneath our wheels,
the warm southern air,
and our four heartbeats which came together for a while
in the unlikely, gorgeous perfection
of our uncommon common language.
for Kerry's Pablo Neruda challenge at Real Toads. I don't like writing sonnets, so I hope that this will please, instead.