Ryedale Writers at Helmsley Arts Centre

A poem by one of our members

BEADS

They are looped around the gear stick of my truck.
Cos......

They said whilst you are in Houston, take a trip to San Antonio,
check out The Alamo,
squat behind a low adobe wall
squint at the sky line with Davy Crockett
and Col. Jim Bowie
as they watched 1500 Mexicans
swarm like bees.

Dinner was served by Onawa who was
my waitress for the evening.

Onawa was mostly Mexican and part Apache.
Her skin was not caramel; it was smoother than that,
it was not coffee,
far more delicate,
it was just Onawa.

When she brought my receipt
her smooth brown fist
hovered sensuously as she trickled
beads on my plate.

Asking about these honey droplets
she said - it was a custom of the house,

but being mostly Mexican and part Apache
she smiled

and said teasingly-

“We are just simply paying the white man back.”

So, they are looped around my gear stick, hot,
Texan stones in my cold northern cab

to remind me of Mexicans, part Apaches
and Onawa's ancient words.

David Smith

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