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After the Spanish Civil War Edmundo Returns to Madrid....

by Lisa Marie Brodsky

Full Title: After the Spanish Civil War Edmundo Returns to Madrid in Search of His Appetite

Edmundo steps over the bricks scattered along the streets.
Nothing haunted his memory like the taste
of her pantyhose – that first lick – and the paella
served at dusk on a coral plate.

He returns to Milagro Street, now a collection
of broken shutters and littered alleyways.
He had met her here – the woman in the red and black striped dress –
when the war had just started, death moving toward them
like a baby learning to walk.

He now stands in front of el apartamento cinco
and there she is, leaning against the half-lit wall,
her hair tied back into a disheveled ponytail.
She pulls him in with a lingering kiss, remembering
his body, his bruises, his cuts.

In bed, beneath a circulating five-armed fan pulling
the stench and heat away, she asks many questions,
eyes full and bright with her own remembrances of war.

Stroking him, she asks how many he’s killed and he lies:
Muchos hombres, querida… saying
hundreds, but leaving out the American he shared
whisky with in the cave –
once, when there was just too much blood
and gunfire.

She listens to his tales of war for hours, coaxing
it out of him with kisses that leave plum-colored
Rorschach marks all over his body. She drags it out
of him with what she knows to do,
with what she has known to do all her life.

Te adoro, she whispers, a strangled cry escaping.
Máteme. Ahora. Kill me. Now. Her breathing heavy,
her eyes squinted shut.

He presses his unshaven face between her breasts
and wonders if the want of something,
if the explosive, unkempt need of something
could close a heart that was once open
or squeeze a throat just-so.

11/25/2004

Posted on 11/25/2004
Copyright © 2020 Lisa Marie Brodsky

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