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The Bullfighter's Cry as a Poem

by Viviane Vives

I hold my ring in the palm of my hand, I present it. I cried
I no longer feel my belly, my legs, my mouth, my eyelids
The world a dark gray. My gaze low, my hair dirty, my ruedo slippers empty
Candle drops spread over the stone wall, dull and worn, cold, with rigor mortis
The candles in the window that did not bring you
The messenger tree that did not find you
The sky fell over the house
the world came undone over the new roof
Everything was what had not been, what will not be
Rushing down the canyon, under the cold wind
The morning’s winter dew
the singing cardinal in the bush
his being so deeply red
did not survive the loss of our bellies
separated from each other
There is a space in the wind that did not know how to part from you
yet it did
The sea dropped over my head.
I looked like a crazy bird floating up and down
the gray heartless waves
This is my silent and dark tenderness
I didn’t know that loneliness can also be made of velvet
I did not ask for much
I waited in my stone house, our dead hearts, my dead sword
That is that. There will not be dancing of water skyward
No abandon. There will not be. Faltabas
“Los Angueles” swallowed you. Black sanatorium for ten million people
You were the last loca to arrive. The bull hit your head, you said.
Erased The Most Important Thing
I talk to people at the bar. I'm not really me, swallowed by “Los Angueles”
It ate half of me then, today I ate the rest; only my shadow remains
My shadow is dying, drinks Argentinian wine, watches Madrid finally lose
My shadow twirls on the bar stool, smiles, tells stories to unsuspecting couples
My shadow vomits on the sidewalk, then goes get my cape
My shadow sleeps in my bed, doesn’t think of anything
Frightened by the storm, my dog climbs in with me
surprised to not find me, my dog doesn't like my shadow
The storm moves away. I'm going to pee and sleep
I'll swaddle my shadow, a night without dreams
no sound but the storm that leaves
My shadow and I can’t sleep, we walk, give me a stick
to Santiago’s path; the road you took

carrying our dead child on your back
I carry you dead, a fluttering moth tangled in my eyelashes
Dirty Catalan girl. It was your smile that dirtied everything
Not even this demented rain cleans. Filthy world, we will not paint it
Our bodies can’t keep up. I want to keep up
The rain will stop, the heat will come, the storm will not leave a memory
I'll scratch my own back, indolent, swaying on the hammock, over the garden
I’ll close my eyes. You’ll wear another’s silver ring on your finger
I’ll take off mine, marry my shadow
On my finger, a deep hole, an ugly twisted vein
Still holding my sword. All will pass. Ages accelerating. I, floating

Viviane Vives is a finalist of the Sandy Crimmins National Prize in Poetry, semifinalist of the American Short(er) Fiction Contest by American Short Fiction, and a nominee for Best of the Net Anthology, 2018. Recent publications include Tupelo Quarterly, Litro Magazine, Burningword, and The Sixty-Four Best Poets Anthology by Black Mountain Press.

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