with a Moon-Faced Woman
He was probably drunk, you know, on maize mixed with water. That night, that night, he fell in love for the first time of this life. It was not the first time he drank to forget the long journey, the tramping through alkaline dust white as ground bones, the mud packed on his head like a beehive. It was not the first time he drank to remember the feel of wild horses between his legs and how they would sigh in the morning.
She had a cool, silvery light in her face, the way a woman looks when she bends over still water and studies her face. Or the way water flickers in sea caves, that bending of light and water, sleek as a seal. She was his opposite in many ways: patient when he was hotheaded, quiet when he shouted in anger at life, the cords of his neck strong as bullwhips.
When he approached her, she lifted her chin and stared at him. “You’ve been watching me,” she stated.
“Will you marry me?” he asked. “Will you marry me?” He sat down abruptly, weakened by his boldness.
She laughed. “You’re funny.”
When he hung his head, shoulders sloping down into his pockets, she laughed harder. “Oh, I like a man who makes me laugh!”
He looked up and grinned. Maybe this was going to turn out all right.
“You men!” she scolded, her face shining in the dark edge of dawn. The strap of her red dress slid down one shoulder. She canted one hip, angling her ankles until the high-heeled shoe slipped off and the small space between heel and earth was like red earth and roses.
He wanted to kiss her heels, let her walk across him, the way he walked across Sonora. Let her step into him, to what he’d become, sitting here on the seawall listening to the Pacific Ocean call her name.
Over and over, he smiled, wanting to make her laugh again. He bared his teeth, pulled his upper lip to cover his nose, let his lips hang loose while he warbled