His body wrapped in folds of black exhaust,
my father fumbles with a wrench, his head
is lost inside a pick-ups propped up hood.
I hear him curse the Texas heat. I laugh,
and tap his sun burnt shoulder, offer him
a bowl of melting ice cream. Caramel?
he asks, and grabs it with grease-stippled hands.
Dulce de leche, words slide off my tongue.

He asks me where I learned to talk like that.
Behind this truck, a boy with soft dark hands,
smooth tongue like caramel. But I don’t say,
just shrug, breath in the heavy smell of fumes,
with melting ice cream sticky on my hands.

Originally published in Third Wednesday Journal

 

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Katie Hoerth

Katherine Hoerth is the author of four poetry books. Her most recent, Goddess Wears Cowboy Boots (Lamar University Literary Press, 2014) won the Helen C. Smith Prize from the Texas Institute of Letters for the best book of poetry. Her work has been published in journals including Texas Poetry Calendar, Concho River Review, and Mezzo Cammin: A Journal of Formal Poetry by Women. She teaches writing at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and serves as poetry editor of Amarillo Bay and Devilfish Review. Katherine lives in Edinburg.

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