Mudlark No. 51 (2013)


Once Jeronimo Matute rode a horse up
to the bar, ordered a drink, and swallowed the shot 
without dismounting. Many evenings,

his horse sauntered in as my mother served dinner
and he shouted, Mejor al tiempo que invitado!  
Better on time than invited. Most dawns, 

he galloped out to sea, plastered sand in his gray
chest hair, stripped the patch from his white,
blinded eye, and shouted of his strength. Today, 

he died. But doesn’t someone on the continent
where once I knew such color still shade 
under an elephant leaf, suck sugar cane, slam

dominoes down on an echoing oil drum? 
The game goes on, the rum around the backroom, 
that life—

where it was Matute’s whoops or howler monkeys
that stirred me from my child’s sleep. It’s the loss
of him, it’s sympathy for another. That’s why I weep, 

waking to only black coffee, all this silent morning. 

Rose McLafrney | The Way I Learned to Love
Contents | Mudlark No. 51 (2013)