Steamy San Antonio on a summer's Saturday night, smell of salsa and beans,
saltilloed echoes jostling, sounds of stoneware charring table tiles
a large group of people seated at long table center-wise.
Quick discourses directed toward the head, gregarious and grand
in animated adoration carefully masking his wandering eye, his naughty hand.
He scowls at warning glances from his mate at far end
who sits up straight in disbelief and deep embarrassment
observing her man's iniquity, openly ogling his own son's friend.
Raised eyebrow, a cough, another rum: the matriarch is mortified
watching him slobber at the young while vesting her with a scowling stance.
A torrent of pain the aging woman feels, 30 years of wasted faithfulness
the Golden Ball has passed her by, gone are her youth, her looks and influence
she should have played the game, had fun, damned be her chaste benevolence.
Shrinking into the chair she's silent, forgotten, ignored, and suddenly knows
that lonely years will be the balance of her life with no one kind or caring.
Choking hard she lifts from deep within the only thing still owned
and lays her dignity like a warming blanket around her workhorse shoulders
and over her battered soul.