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Saturday, February 13, 2010


It’s a season, mi amor, a late-honeyed afternoon light staining my windows and doors.

When it comes, and it does, I am the fly, petrified in its hue and gaze—my heart locked in its

stubborn amber.

In Spain, there are chambers for the busts of saints, sacristies in which their heads are kept,

the mouths hung open—caves which store their cherished bones. Death choking those

hollowed throats, but death remembered, gingerly held.

I want to stare into those throats, feel the church-chill near my ankles, beneath my shoes,

the womb-like hum of those darkened high ceilings.

At times, what I have done or not done catches its bright hook into my lungs—snags me

to the past and its bitter tongues.

A garage sale of details, the past persistently subtracts from my now.

A stair, a chair—I can be anywhere, and it rivets me to the simple equation of my life. That

manicured, unflinching ground: what cannot be undone. The negative soil my feet tenderly

tread on.

The heart is a cave and grief sputters its flames, throws its flare of clarity against the trickling,

furrowed walls. Then the glyphs on the stone glow, and I am forced to read my one story

back to myself. Finger the hot scars of it.

Regret blinds me in my love of objects; I can mourn anything,
mi amor: a cold linoleum floor,

the flat pale stare of a light switch. It makes the mind a sodden field ready to wrap its ivy

and roots around any detail: a blue and red rug rumpled beneath a table, the sucked pluck

of a window shutting against its frame. The list goes on.

Silver plum I pour into my mouth: tart and sweet, plump flesh. A past I can consume, an edible

pain. A night fruit.

A plot I memorize to keep certain streets alive in me—the soft, silver tongues of the rain littering

the stones; a gluttony of details only my mind can resurrect; a petty, personal religion that refuses

the new. A selfish holiness before which I genuflect.

In Soria, Spain, there is a church that is a cave—rugged worship cooled down and darkened

by the stone, a saint enclosed in a hard palm. I stared at her girlish face, not wanting to leave

the ripe quiet inside the earth she had found.

OFr: regreter, to bewail the dead or an ulcer of tears my stomach gladly accepts.

It is a stopped clock. When it comes, a little theatre sets itself up inside of me and the actors

won’t shut up—reciting the same lines over and over again.

I open my mouth,
mi amor, and only myself falls in.

Originally published in Sulphur River Literary Review.

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