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 them.
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 and thigh. Down below
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.
Sharon Dolin is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Manual for Living. Her translation from Catalan of Gemma Gorga’s Book of Minutes appeared in the Field Translation Series (Oberlin College Press, 2019). Her memoir Hitchcock Blonde is forthcoming from Terra Nova Press in June 2020.She is associate editor of Barrow Street Press and director of Writing About Art in Barcelona.