{Spain: March 2017}

A Story in 7 Verses

1.
Travelers on the plane smile kindly at us as we
laugh with our teachers
and rearrange seats.

2.
When we arrive at the Dubai airport,
we find a corner of the gate to make our own.
We sleep on the ground, get drinks.
We have been in airports enough
that we have our own unwritten schedules.

3.
When we arrive in Spain, we are cold.
Spoiled by equator weather,
we wrap ourselves in scarves and
goggle at old, clean buildings.

4.
As we board the train to Sevilla, we are giddy
with sleeplessness and the shine of new places.

5.
It is dark when we climb out of our bus in La Plaza de Cuba.
Our host families wait in the dark,
various small dogs, a few children.
From where we stand, we can see La Torre de Oro y La Giralda.
They shimmer in our eyes and as we speak
unintelligible sentences, I think
about how long I waited to be here —
magic land, accents, la marcha, and everything.

6.
My friend and I are greeted by our hosts and their small dog.
They talk with a loping Spanish accent
and their home smells European and
faintly of cigarette smoke.
They tell us of their daughter
who passed away in the summer,
pointing out her picture all over the house.

7.
El Palacio de Viana is tucked behind white washed walls
and blue shuttered windows.
The gardens are bursting
with green, an array of fountains, statues, and stone pathways.
There are old stone benches, soft with age.
As K— sits on one, I think about those
that sat before her.

We roam the halls — dark carpets, and paintings on the walls.
We visit the quarters of la duquesa, her turquoise blue sitting room,
her closet — huge and concealed behind an ordinary door, — her bathroom.
The coffee table in the sitting room has stout legs,
curved at the bottom.
The love seat beside it looks comfortable, but probably isn’t.
I wonder if she ever put her feet on the coffee table.
I wonder if she ever wandered to the library, pulled a book
from the shelves, wandered back to her room,
and drank her tea with her feet on the table,
thinking about her relatives in a far-away country.
I wonder if she ever ran barefooted through the carpeted halls
to her lover’s bedroom (was he her lover?),
the clock striking, 1 or maybe 3, as she lounged in
his grand sitting room.

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