1: Manuel and Sylvia
No graffiti on non-existent overpasses. Hands held over plenty
of potholed dirt roads—the same hands on hymnals in pews
Sunday fresh, with children tallest to shortest down the row.
Steeples above mesquite trees, crosses in clouds and constellations
above grounded lovers crowding around Buicks and Ford beds,
cow shit caked to tires, damper in summer dresses and pearl snaps.
As sober children slept off Saturday cotton picking,
their parents rolled over dance floor planks.
Beer by the bottle or can, water’s in the outhouse,
or outside as dew collects over collapsed grass.
Hunted heads on walls, above a band’s elevated stage, hoedown
houselights warmed wood spanned to the edge of the world’s end.
Barbed wire kept women from running far and away, but
they stuck fast to quick boots, close to redeemable dancing
men in pants starched enough for Sunday sunrise service.
2: Sylvia and Manuel
Her sweating curls are unacceptable for anywhere
but the dance floor.
Her arm on his shoulder, his arm on her hip, they follow
clamped hands and hope elegant music ends and a fiddle begins
to play something fast, when wives dance husbands to their death,
down to heaven,
where they live to drink from the Big Dipper, before bodies
stop splendor and begin to die.