After drinking Baileys on the rocks
at Sinatra’s, I spill with joy into el jardin.
Mariachis play guitars near the donkeys
and the Christmas tree. We whirl away,
dance past the wooden corncob spears discarded
in flowerpots, until Zacateros Street. I needed
to pee at Kerouac’s favorite bar, La Cucaracha.
Inside, paintings of nude women blanket the walls
adorned by graffiti. Green, white, and red balloons
float in a smoky haze below the eggshell ceiling.
TV screens glow—hues faded like the early days
of Technicolor. I don’t touch anything except
the faucet knobs. I want to stop crawling. I don’t
want to face-plant on the railroad tracks.
I remember that morning, I found a baby
in a slice of the Rosca de Reyes.
Walking is better now, back to the hotel,
before the night burns out.
John Milkereit lives in Houston and has completed a M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the Rainier Writing Workshop. His work has appeared in various literary journals including San Pedro River Review, The Orchard Street Press, and Issue 17 of Panoplyzine. Lamar University Press published his last collection of poems entitled Drive the World in a Taxicab.