Back to Issue Thirty-Seven




for A.

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
intermediate hours.

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.”

Victoria C. Flanagan is the author of Glossary of Unsaid Terms, winner of Beloit Poetry Journal’s 2020 Chad Walsh Chapbook Prize. Flanagan’s writing has been nominated for Best of the Net, and awarded an Academy of American Poets Prize, the Emerging Poets Prize from Palette Poetry, and a Sewanee Writers’ Conference scholarship, among other honors. Their work has appeared in The Adroit Journal, The BoilerVerse DailyAppalachian Review, New South, Blackbird, and elsewhere. A North Carolina native, they hold a dual-genre MFA in poetry and nonfiction from Virginia Commonwealth University, and are the 2020-21 Ronald Wallace Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing.

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