after John Koenig
after The Dead Toreador, Édouard Manet, 1864
- All the art in Seville is making our eyes bleed. We cannot bear the beauty of another palacio of a million mosaics, or the clatter of one more café. We follow the swans around the bend, under a bundle of low leaves, into the soundless grove. I’ve told you already to go off and find yourself a young woman, someone who could keep up in this heat, but you were too busy fiddling with your camera battery to assuage my neuroses.
- If I was afraid to come here with you, it’s only because I was afraid of what I might lose.
- There is an old woman in flowing purple and red scarves, armloads of bangles, and sensible shoes. I do a double take, thinking for a strange second that I was passing some kind of mirror.
- When I turn back, she has her arms around the trunk of a tree. She stands there like that for a long time.
- There is no one else in the garden for a quiet mile. We stumble on a murder of doves, luminous orbs of white in the green foliage. After a while, we hear far off lonely strain of Puccini, move toward the sound and find a musician performing for a small film crew and a few Muscovies.
- Restored, we retrace our steps through the Parque de María Luisa and back into the medina, searching for wine and anchovies.
- It is too early to go in, especially in Spain, but sleep is the only thing we want for, so we go to it. You fall into me, a little rough, then gentle, and I turn a little after so you won’t see that I am crying.
- It’s too soon to tell you this is everything I ever wanted, even if I didn’t know it until now.
- I dream about the bull bar in Madrid, all those heads from fallen beasts watching us watching the city. We sipped on a broth made of their tails. There was a shrine heaving under worn photographs, a thousand tasseled toreadors, too many of them just boys, satin and gilt swans dancing between life and death.
- I watched a bull fall in Lima, watched as they dragged his vanquished carcass around the ring. I wouldn’t have believed it then myself, how I could be tamed.
Lorette C. Luzajic is the editor of The Ekphrastic Review, an online journal dedicated to writing inspired by art. Her own poetry has appeared in several hundred online and print publications, including Indelible, Wild Word, Nine Muses Poetry, Misfit Magazine, Cultural Weekly, Black Coffee Review, Heart of Flesh, and more. She was twice nominated last year for a Pushcart Prize, as well as for Best of the Net. She is currently at work on her fifth collection of poetry, her second ekphrastic book. Visit her at http://www.mixedupmedia.ca.