Just outside of Manassa, passed the waterless
bridges of steel, Aunt Leona measures the
hill and plateau she sees.
I wish that God would come down,
sit here beside me, and talk to me.
And what would you talk to Him about?
Oh, I donít know. I just had it on my
Mind; but now I just donít know. Oh,
Nellie, my mind isnít what it used to be, you know.
Just outside of San Acacia, passed the crumpled
cafť and homeless bed & breakfast,
Aunt Leona gasps for order.
I just thought that I havenít told Mama
where I was going. Do you think she knows?
Oh, yes, I told Edna before we left that we
were going for a drive.
Do you ever wish you were dead, Nellie? Sometimes
I just wish that I could lie down and go to sleep.
Just outside of San Luis, where the mountain
prays in stations, Aunt Leona whispers about
walks to the mail box, and abductions.
Some days I just want to cry. I go into my
room by myself and just cry. I donít want Edna
to know though; I donít want her to be hurt.
Whatís wrong? Do you see that car behind us?
How do you know thereís a car; I donít see one
(I say as I look in my rear-view mirror.) Look
back and describe it to me.
Itís back there somewhere. I can FEEL it.
What color is the car, Aunt Nono?
Oh, I donít know what color it is, but itís dark.
What make is it, Aunt Nono?
Oh, I donít know, Iíve forgotten.
Thereís no car behind us, Aunt Nono.
Oh, there MOST CERTAINLY is. I can FEEL it.
As we round away from the levee, she looks
this way, that way, behind her, in front of her.
I donít want to be abducted--I want to stay away
from the men who abduct. I heard thereíre some men
who abduct. I just donít want to be one of them.
Tears form in her eyes set off by her pearl-like hair
drawn back from her face with silver hair clips.
I think so much about you. I think about my mama,
Daddy, my husband, and Jerry. You know, my son is
an alcoholic. Things havenít been going so well for Edna,
either; she always has something to worry about. I want to
see her sheep, but I donít want her to worry. Things
havenít gone so well for Jerry.
Do you have enough gas? (She rummages
through her cream patched leather handbag).
I donít have any money for gas.
I havenít seen my mother in so long. She was so sick.
I donít know if she is all right or not. I donít know if my
Daddy is alive or dead. Itís been so long since Iíve
seen Arnold. I wonder where he is?
How are your two boys? How is your mother, Nellie? I
Think about you so much. Your people are good people.
Just past the Rio San Antonio bridge on our way back through
Manassa, Aunt Leona squints to see the perched bald eagle
half hidden in the bare cottonwoods along the banks.
Iíve been here before in Mercedes, Texas. I never realized
how big everything was here. All the Mexicans loved
my daddy because he gave them water. He made sure
everyone got water whether they were rich or not.
Between Manassa and Romeo, we pass by
over-grazed pastures, calving heifers,
Sunday chores, and flattened barbed-wire fences.
We better turn around if we donít have much gas.
We are; weíre on our way back to Ednaís, I say.
Clapping her hands and giggling, she raves
Oh, Iím so glad. Wonít she be surprised!
. . . .
We both catch our breath as the 4-wheel drive
creeps over the drying but muddy driveway;
lifting in front of the passenger wheel,
a sea gull snares a scavenged treasure
off into the southern sky and then eastward ho
towards Dallas, Houston, and Galveston.