Not Reading Lorca on Grand Avenue
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