A bark of rifle fire and podenco whip whistled through
the hooded Badedas wood.
No horse put its head through the bathroom fly screen:
the cones snapped, crackled, popped and fell afoot.
[when he had disembarked the boat from Africa in camp khaki
he had been placed immediately under house arrest]
In Santa Inés de Corona
the white church welcomed black widowed weeds.
He knelt, palm pressing on the oiled hierbas
sweetly sluicing his hungover insides with pining.
[the women had come from the still night of the interior
rattling the stiff local lettuce with hard yellow-green lemons]
He had longed long time, now the bar beckoned.
First perhaps a pastis, milky as her eyes had been in ecstasy
that last night before she’d disappeared.
His eyes were yellow, oily like mature manchego.
[memory was based on smell as well as sight
small cakes of green or yellow soap wrapped in brown paper]
Loneliness flew down the hillside,
a bird bearing a bullet.
Another stab in his Sunday guts.
In thirty-six degrees of ten a.m. heat
the vanishing point was chill,
registering her not yet never return.
[behind the counter like an altar beyond the stark shelves
sides of bacon hanging in the darkness from the rafters]
His white shirt was starched and damp,
an airline pilot bereft of bearing
but forced into flight.
Where was that blasted boy?
Ah, Magdalena and those blessed months.
The refreshment that had beckoned twenty minutes since
was now necessity.
Sober terror inspected his manicured nails.
Art Rupert Loydell