A huaso is known by his wool poncho
and the wear of his boot; how tarnished
the spurs. At night when a cantina closes,
the sound of bells on heels ping through
the darkness like pins falling on glass.

A huaso is known by the braid of his soga,
worn cowhide cut, slapped, and sealed in spit,
buttons pinched to mimic sweet rosebuds;
and by his horse, the dried white of sweat
on flanks. At night the stables quiet except
for a huaso sick on red wine—his insides
on the hay like so many summer nights.

A huaso is known by his woman, a horsefly,
silent but hungry to pierce the skin of her man.
She drinks him like jote- wine and Coca-Cola.
As he removes his poncho, spurs, and soga,
and before he enters, she can’t help but think:
maybe this time he’ll stay.


By Dana De Greff