After Dinner with Ted in the High Noon Cafe by Nonnie Augustine

Cheese enchiladas and High Noon
Margaritas loosened the evening.
We strolled around Old Town
in the sweet desert cool
of an Albuquerque summer’s
Saturday night.
Knees buckled with laughter,
eager for each other,
we turned the corner
to my dark cobbled street.
Footloose, I stumbled
in blue high-heeled sandals.
As Ted caught and kissed me,
I looked past him to see
my neighbor, young Emilio,
under his porch light
in a blood-spattered shirtagainst
his thigh dangled
a stained silver knife.
From inside their casa, women
railed at the killer who swayed
from cerveza, cried, “Mi hermano! ¿
who lay dead at his feet.
With the impulse to help,
I ran toward the chaos
but Ted again caught me
and sirens grew loud.
From shadow we watched them
take the brothers away.
Green chili and tequila tumbled
inside me, in the sad, sobered
quiet ofmy city’s Old Town.

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