At the Fountain of the Fallen Angel in Retiro Park
But aren’t we all fallen angels, I thought
as I limped over with one ankle recalling
an old sprain—drawn to darkness
and gravity: Bosch’s bulimic creature enthroned
and swallowing the damned whole
only to excrete
What was there ever to do in Paradise
except leave—the way my son has left me
for the mired world.
The sun blandishes
the angel’s wing and my hand
as I sketch the serpent entwining
his right wrist
iguanas with crenellated heads
spew the water—between fangs—
he may never drink.
Hasn’t it always been a story of thirsts unquenched
and the struggle not to struggle: torso writhing—
wrist writing—between ecstasy and angst?
I don’t ask for peace anymore,
just another fallen one
to strain against.
Ode to Chufa
When the orxata ladies shook a few
wrinkled pebbles into my hand,
hard to believe these tiny tubers
these petrified raisins
dry as a wadi bed
could, when ground up and
mixed with sugar, make a milk
as malty as they do.
Orxata. All I hear is the ladle
stirring up the cream-cool
drink in a steel vat before
the pour into a glass
of summer. May you always
remain my Barcelona
my entrance into Mediterranean
light, my delight in the local.
May you never appear
in New York except for these
few crumbs I keep in a blue ceramic
shoe to remind me why
memory is composed of what
we hold near from a distance.
Read additional work by Sharon Dolin appearing in Terrain.org: “Catalan Calendar,” a finalist for our 10th Annual Contest in Nonfiction, and “French Flares,” nonfiction.
Header photo by by SvetlanaSF, courtesy Shutterstock.