6 OCTOBER 2007, Page 48

At Casa Verde, five in the afternoon after Rimbaud

I ripped my feet to bits walking the pilgrim trail to Guadalupe as far as Hidalgo. At Casa Verde I ordered a bottle of beer and the special: greasy tortillas, fried cactus, chillies con came.

I cooled my feet on the dirt floor under the table, pictures of movie stars and saints papered the walls, out of the kitchen came a Cuban-heeled boy, ablebodied, slicked-back, skintight jeans and a scowl — He could have me in a heartbeat, that one! — carrying a plate piled with tortillas, bowls of hot sauce and meat, cool beer, and shot glasses for mescal on the house.

Everything swimming in heavenly grease, the scent of tequila hangs on the heat. He refills my glass — the cactus nectar, the dying sun, and his yellow eyes lighting on my mouth.

Fay Hart