Not Read­ing Lorca on Grand Av­enue

The Iowa Review - - NEWS - Gretchen mar­quette

For seven days I’ve left you on the White Star Line— same length of time as pas­sage to New York. I don’t know why I left, you say. I ask my­self a hun­dred times a day. I too look over my shoul­der, feel blood in my neck, taste salt. Peo­ple say sor­row con­sumes, but I feel huge—like a flame, and grief a strong breath. I walk around with my throat on fire, my arm a branch of singed buds. I’ve missed you these seven days, our sto­ries halted.

I saw a film about Al­tamira, caves in Spain, paint­ings on their ceil­ings. A child found them, Maria, she was born the same year as your mother. I keep go­ing back to the frank­ness of num­bers, and what eighty is if we mean years. It doesn’t help to an­swer: Of she and I, who is closer to you?

Two golden dogs cross Grand Av­enue fol­low­ing a woman. They lie down and wait when she en­ters the café. One dog, the one with black ears, stud­ies me through the glass. He’s the first to­day to see I’m a burn­ing tree. It makes him thirsty to look at me. Peo­ple float past, this the first warm day of spring. They seemed sur­prised to see leash­less, golden dogs ly­ing like dragons over dark paws. Even this

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