On the Road with Maggie Scratch in Mexico


Guadalajara International Book Fair

It seems fitting that Maggie Scratch would arrive on one of these shelves. After all, she did live in Mexico. That was the year she went to see Claudia. A lot of things happened in Mexico. Nanny Scratch would say, “Mexico was meant to be.”

“Claud and Dennis left Yelapa before I did. Word got around the village that they were packing so when the little motorboat came from Puerto Vallarta I went down to the beach to say goodbye, but I didn’t say it. Claud was standing next to the boat at the edge of the water in Dennis’s black leather jacket and she had the collar turned up. She looked like a movie star. The black leather boots Dennis had ripped off for her in Rome were getting wet at the toes. She loaded her bags into the boat. The one thing I felt good about was that I was the only person in the world who knew Claud’s Peter Fonda sunglasses were prescription. When she lifted her head I saw my face in the mirrors. I was biting my bottom lip and keeping my mouth shut. I didn’t want to say anything stupid. Dennis clutched her elbow, they stepped into the boat and puttered off. I didn’t even wave.

Chano, my landlord had built the palapa for his favorite girlfriend, a schoolteacher in Guadalajara. Six rainbow-filled abalone shells glowed in the wall in the moonlight. I slept next to that wall. The night Claud left the moon was full. The shells were so bright I didn’t need a flashlight to write down the P.P. style poem that stole into my mind and summed up Claud and me.



an icy peak

Claud hates Haiku. Also, she would be critical of using a word like icy on a tropical night in a Mexican jungle. Claud would never have used a word like that. But it worked for me. She wanted ice, she got icy. I froze her out.”

Maggie Scratch


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