I wanted to be moved by the Mexicans. I was. I left 90% tips to waiters who were caricatures, short accommodating men in white uniforms so sheer I saw the shape of their underwear. I handed a bag of Hershey Kisses to the seven-year-old hauling my luggage out of the orange taxi at dawn. I saw the way he hid them under his shirt. I noticed the resemblance his chest bore to my adolescent brother’s concaved chest, & thought of my brother asleep, the Playboy Channel on with the volume off, you smiling on the cover of the Hustler under the bed, & above his bedroom, the satellite dish like a cup held to a door of night sky. If you could see this postcard of Ixtapa, on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, you’d think this strip of hotels looks like California. The trim hedges would remind you of the Golden Hills Motel, the slipped silence of Mrs. Moore who lived at the front desk, the keys on wooden paddles she handed you whenever yours were lost. You should have seen the disco in the hotel that looks like a Mayan pyramid, music videos of Michael Jackson & Madonna projected on mirrored walls. I danced under the spotlight, facing shadows drinking Corona, the men watching an American girl. I arched my back. You would understand, being twenty then when you had no cocaine, & no place to go but the closet, where you untangled the rifle barrel from the plastic covering your dresses, your brain blooming on the bedroom wall... & me being twenty now, both fatherless in our way. I dreamed mine left my mother & me in a motel in Tecate for a trip to L.A., yours, (I heard him say in the interview) ran his home “like a business.” He was sorry & he believed it wasn’t his fault. Maybe it wasn’t. Still, we could take Freud on roughly the same field trip, sit on the bus demurely at each arm, begin to talk, press our breasts into his black coat. In the dark hair below his lips our tongues would touch. Now I dream of your blond hair, the video close-ups of your lips. I even bought a French brand of red lipstick (duty free) at the airport in Mexico City. I stood with my hand off the rail on a height of stone steps & imagined you, hesitating the way I always hesitate before descending, waiting for that rush of hands to your back, that on impact look like small dark wings to someone who watches.
Nicole Broadhurst’s work can be found in Vox, Drunken Boat, The Caribbean Writer, Mangrove, Kennesaw Review, The Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, The Miami Herald’s now-defunct Tropic Magazine, Poet Lore, and Visions- International, et cetera. She has won of the Eve of St. Agnes Poetry Award from Negative Capability.