Corner of Enchantment
Three fresh, grilled sardines fill the glazed clay plate;
one for each of us, a treat at dusk when Andalucía’s sky
whispers what tomorrow might bring. We wait
to learn the prediction: stars yes, rain maybe, moon no.
We eat around the crunchy spines, leave the heads
intact. We wash down tapas with tough red wine
feel the wind change direction away from the plaza
higher to el castillo, in this steep, terraced town.
It was impossible to reach Mojacar even on horseback…”
or so 12th-century history goes, yet the women still climb
sure-footed, carrying water home to cook, alchemists
steeped in secrets, wise as the dark witch sky.
Lit up in lights, Che watches thousands
dancing in Plaza de la Revolución.
I’m in bed at Hotel Nacional de Cuba
certain I’m dying, sick with a respiratory infection.
I drink orange juice, drink papaya juice, drink
without alcohol. I’d like some alcohol.
I’d like to be at the concert I’m watching on TV, all
those people swaying, screaming, loving the hot hot bands.
Up here on the 5th floor clapping my hands
between chills and scalding heat
my body’s an electric coil – and for the moment
I am Cuban.
Madeleine Beckman is the author of Dead Boyfriends, a poetry collection; her poetry, fiction, essays, articles, and reviews have been published in journals, anthologies, magazines, and online. She has been the recipient of awards and artist residencies in the U.S. and abroad. She is Contributing Reviewer for Bellevue Literary Review, and teaches in the Masters Scholars Program at NYU/Langone Medical Center. Madeleine holds an M.A. in Journalism from New York University, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She lives and works in New York City.