The Poet in Spain

by nicolecallihan

Image

Le Poète, Céret

after Pablo Picasso

 

Before you left for Spain, she told me

she was taking you to brunch, that she

would sit you down and give you a good talking to,

that you can’t do an intervention, per se,

when someone’s leaving for Spain,

but you can try to do something and that something

that morning was going to involve eggs

and it was going to involve Bloody’s,

and if not Bloody’s then bourbon,

and definitely some sausage

and probably some bacon too,

and when I asked if it was the drinking she shrugged

and said she didn’t want you to kill yourself

which seems a perfectly fine thing for a wife to say,

which, especially on the last cold Sunday of winter,

seems a perfectly fine thing for a wife to say,

which, especially on the last cold Sunday of winter

while a daughter naps in her makeshift crib

and the sun does that slanty thing

that it can only really do on the last cold Sunday

in a month of cold Sundays, really cold Sundays,

and the slanty light falls on your wife’s face

seems a perfectly fine thing for a wife to say,

and I thought of you on the edge of the earth

which is where I often think of you,

and I thought of your spare Spanish

and your laugh and how you smoke like a boy,

and I thought that yes, one day you will be dead,

and thinking it hurt me, it cut me up in pieces,

but Spain won’t do it to you, I told myself,

and I’m still telling myself, as I imagine you

wandering through the warm night air: someone

has just played you a birthday song on the guitar,

and you are going to go back to your room,

call your wife, write a poem, crawl in bed,

but first—for now—on this little cobbled street,

you are dancing to the song that drifted

from the guitar, a song that will return to you,

over and over, persistently, magically,

unexpectedly, for the rest of your pretty, pretty days.