Louis Girón
San Antonio

Every Texan has two homes and, in the Spring, one or both must be San Antonio;
home as well to cottonwoods, mesquite, riverbanks, uniforms, and canciónes;
refuge also to Los Tres Colores, scorpions, and the scents of pepper, barbacoa y canela.
Before conquistadores and missions, before Nueva España, there was the river and the heat.
The river, un borracho, weaves then staggers to the flourishes of the guitarras.
Follow the peoples of the guitarras, from past to present, listen to palmas and Spanish.

Sometimes rapid/riveting — or languid/sing-song, ever dramatic in cadence, Spanish
washes the streets, el mercado, cantinas; as water to rain, as necessary to San Antonio
and as inescapable as honey-suckle, magnolias, marijuana promises, and guitarras.
At night La Llorana glides through the streets, returns in shadows, dreams, and canciónes;
at noon, flies take siestas, eyeballs sizzle in sockets, while none —or all, talk of the heat.
After ‘pickles’, unsuspecting turistas gulp Dos Equis, then sopapillas with miel y canela.

On river floats, señoritas, roses in hair, flash white teeth and skin the color of canela.
Fiesta, like a quinceñera, celebrates life. During Fiesta, all else stops. Parades and Spanish
rhythms celebrate Spring returning to the land; all beseech la fortuna to temper the heat.
Along the streets of La Villita, a river of trilled rr’s flows in the heart of San Antonio.
Selena is gone, Tú Sólo Tú remains. Texan wannabes from New York nod to canciónes:
todos sombreros, no vaqueros; but they eat rattlesnake steak; dance in time to guitarras.

Gringos join colonos, sing tejano, relish jalapeños and salsa verde; they believe guitarras
and corridos make the good life as do blue bonnets and the polka. Chocolate with canela,
enchiladas, and margaritas vanish quickly; bands wheeze out pasodobles y canciónes;
bougainvillea cascade over fences; contrails lace the clouds. English and Spanish
mingle as sons and daughters of the Union, Confederacy, and Mexico join in San Antonio,
the descendants of the besiegers and of the defenders of the Alamo together in the heat.