Author of The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, etc.

C.M. Mayo < Publications < Poetry <



Originally published in Poetic Voices Without Borders edited by Robert L. Giron (Gival Press, 2005)
A CAREFUL, perfect square of a garden. A place for kneeling, weeding by hand. Five trees: parasols of cooling shade. But, surely, never were their ancestors tall enough that, by standing on a kitchen stool, one could not pluck any fruit or nut. What trees were they then, when Lope, with his watering jug in hand, paused in their shade to mop his brow? His garden is four hundred years old (the stone well looks positively Roman) and the grape leaves matted over the pergola might have unfurled themselves, so tender a mint-green, but yesterday.

The west side is bounded by a five storey wall the palest color of a new peach and shocked with sun. It bounces down the rumble of Madrid's noontime traffic and this raking, raking over the dirt— the bits of leaves, feathers, withered rose petals. Such angry, rushed raking— this young woman with sloppy, cherry-fizz red hair in her shapeless, gum-colored trousers. I had said, Buenos días, and she went on raking. What do I know of her problems? Or strident, tethered dreams. This cannot be how Lope must have raked.

He raked: and a face bloomed in his mind.

He knelt: it dropped the petal of a bawdy pun.

He heard: the clatter of hooves outside, and birdsong, perhaps a child crying.

The chzz of a wasp.

When, with his jug, he dribbled the silvery well water, how it wet this ground like good, good words.