Remember Goliad

By Luke Neftali Villafranca

The wind is subtle. I imagine her whisper as I stand alone in Goliad Plaza. I remember the press of her hand against my chest after we danced. We trusted each other a little more each second as people watched her spin again and again to a Tejano song whose name I wish I knew, today. I’d sing it to myself, now.

But nevermind me.

It’s quiet, this afternoon. On the oak dance-floor that Saturday night, too long ago, her voice sounded like music after the song. Her voice still sounds that way in my dreams. Her walk had rhythm — perfect purpose, purity.

People say it’s getting more dangerous each day, everywhere, especially along the Rio Grande of the Texican Border. That’s what our fathers and our grandfathers have said at the barbershop on Main Street.

I just say so because I’ve been there — to the classic barbershop with its jazz on the radio and its “Texas Tales” on the bookshelf — as well as to Progresso, Reynosa, Piedras Negras, Mexico — for a prayer, for a party, for a prize-fight or two.

But I haven’t heard from my dance-partner in years. I won’t say her name. Names are too important to even write down, sometimes.

Sometimes, I wonder why I ever talk at all. No one’s ever here long enough to understand, anyway. Thank God.


Luke Neftali Villafranca is a graduate of San Antonio’s St. Mary’s University (B.A. 2014, M.A. 2016). He is a boxer and a writer from Victoria, Texas.

Image: “Trans-Grande,” San Francisco, 2003, 50×32, acrylic on canvas, Brianna Keeper

Brianna Keeper is a painter in Hunt, Texas.