BY VICTORIA C. FLANAGAN
Because grief is not the hope for that
which follows. Because grief is not within
the khakied clerk’s tone
waiting in the Northlake Apple store’s
pick-up line, when she congratulates me
on my new machine—my red right hand,
my splendid aluminum daughter.
Grief, instead, dispatches via USB-C
from a two-terabyte Western Digital hard drive,
the casual tap—restore. And suddenly,
your face on the dual monitor, your cut jaw
I had, in some other life, erased.
Your cheekbones latticed
by the shadows of Calatrava’s Alamillo,
y no me ha dejado. All these years,
and still, sometimes, I forget. The day cusps,
and you are only out
for two con pannas, you are out at the market for eggs.
Having seen you, it is just that:
your new bows must need rosin. I wake alone,
and your brother must have called for a ride
from some basement bar. Surely,
I have more than the olive wood rosary
tacked to my mantel, than the ring I wear, still,
and I cannot possibly live on this bright avenue
3,819 miles from Sevilla,
Sevilla which remembers you best of all.
My love, you hanged yourself from the beam
above our bed.
Once, you called me pendulum,
called me archer, arquera, patient
as flame. And you, pivot. Un ciego, blind one,
because like love, / the archers / are blind.
Sevilla keeps you, siempre, and I know grief
is not the irradiant past itself. All your life deliberate,
just so, y no me ha—
Here I will plead: Let me forget. Let me forget
the way you spoke of orange blossoms. When I
smell citrus, I do not want to recall
elaborate dinners—stewed lamb,
all-day paella—or concertos rehearsed when I was sleepless.
Let me forget that you had eighteen green shirts.
Let me forget the thirteen months, six days,
your mispronunciations: figure, stopwatch, delight.
Let me forget the quick snip of your lighter
from the balcony, how you came to bed perfumed:
earth, ash, black pepper. It is all a transmutation
and trigger—the backlit 4K JPEGs.
Let me forget your heavy down strokes, a note creased
and toppled on the desk. Let me forget
that your feet nearly touched the duvet.
Siempre, siempre—I cannot account for these
You, who I have loved, are dead. These five years since
a quiver, all my latent keeping.
“Like love, / the archers / are blind” is from Lorca’s “Before the Dawn.”