Stacie McCall Whitaker - Stone Coast, Maine

Return to Las Escobas Restaurante

…drink and eat, for God gives you His indulgent smile.

– Baudelaire, Abel and Cain

 

Midday, give or take an hour, and I’m back

in Sevilla from predawn walks beyond

the river. Somewhere in those fields I lost

the names of wildflowers, names of all trees,

save the olive groves a farm woman owned

who’d loved me once in Almensilla.

 

Thirst-laden, I press parched lips to the chipped

edge of a glass of rebujito, knowing the white

sherry that swims through the mix will one day

burn a hole somewhere deep inside me.

 

My eyes shift to the pavement that funnels walkers

up from Puerta de Jerez. All week, storm clouds

have dimmed this street. But today they won’t find it,

furrowed by Andalusian sun, by the footsteps

of a merchant, his eyes lowered like a convict’s,

pushing a cart of iced calamares, finessing

his way around the growing crowds.

 

Enough daylight left to spend, I could drift back

to those fields I’d taken to in the early hours.

But perhaps I’ll linger here, far into moonrise,

gather sounds of longing in men’s voices singing

homeward. Or in my own voice, held so long that silence

feels like infidelity, like far-off fields that almost

turned their backs on me, vanishing into rain.

About the Author

Jeffrey Alfier’s recent books include Fugue for a Desert Mountain, Anthem for Pacific Avenue, and The Red Stag at Carrbridge: Scotland Poems. Publication credits include Copper Nickel, Midwest Quarterly, Poetry Ireland Review, and The McNeese Review. He is founder and co-editor of Blue Horse Press and San Pedro River Review.