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Issue 6




The Matador


Two weeks before the match, he comes home drunk

and in his stupor, talks to the wet clothes

I’ve just hung on the line. He thinks they’re girls,

and, next, they’re crows. He tells the widow-black

linen he fears death and I hold him,

a sweaty, slurring thing. He says the moon

looks like my white knee poking through the sea’s

dark surface, the time I floated on my back

in Portugal, just days after we wed.

I tell him he knows nothing of the moon,

then, feeling bad, tuck my drunk boy in bed.


One week before, we hit the town and head

to Malaga. Bodega to bodega,

he swills ‘Three men make up one bull, princesa’

and eyes the barmen; I can tell he’s looking

for a fight, for three. He can’t stop touching me

and I realise I am part of this act.:

the torero’s muleta, his red slip.

He kisses me. His tongue feels like a whip.


The morning of, he wakes at dawn.

He whispers ‘I’ll be back,’ then jokes,

‘unless I die’. I do not laugh and wait

for him all day;

I feel his absence through

my inner thigh. That night, the moon

spreads like a stain across the sky.

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