Laura Isabela Amsel

Incantation at the Kitchen Sink

Oh, I know what you’d do at the first hint
of heady, you’d kick the screen door open,
pruning shears and talavera vase in hand,
blasting our eighties’ anthem: it's the end
of the world as we know it and I feel fine.
Prancing, you’d shout that last line,
scandalizing the neighbors. Just like Madrid.
Let them gawk, you’d giggle. Every inch
of you la hostia in daffodil yellow camisole
and panties—a goddamn goddess, gathering
Spanish jasmine in your gauzy peignoir.
No they’d never catch you, standing here,
listless, stooped over the sink, unmoved,
elbow-deep in dishwater, wasting June.
Staring through the window at a riot
of white so perfumed it must be illegal.
When did I lose you? Bold you? Brazen
golden-curl you? Hitching to Lisboa you,
sleeping on Playa Poca you? Why trade
thumbing rides for mini-vans, the Milky
Way for night-lights, jasmine for I do bland
as gas station roses? Oye, rubia, ven aquí.
Do you remember Madrid? A la izquierda
en el semáforo. Gran Via, Plaza Mayor,
the Prado, the swans at the park. Do you
remember the Metro’s electric smell, diesel
petrol? Ajo y aceite de oliva. I hear you
singing, rubia. And I want me back. I do. But
the abejas. See the red wasps? And even
honey bees can sting.                 Psst, psst,
oye, rubia, ven aquí. Every inch of the city,
graffitied, seething against Reagan, at Joy
Eslava, rubia, you raved with the boy
from Berlin, his pockets stuffed with rocks
from the wall. Remember red vespas. Leather
pants and kitten heels. Remember Felipe,
his back, bare, lips sticky with sidra. Cañas,
camas, sabanas blancas. Remember tapas:
pulpo, gambas a la plancha. Remember Rioba,
sangría, the stable boy you bribed to let you
ride the white stallion. Remember Ibiza. Oye,
rubia, ven aquí. Let’s kick down that door,
inhale all the sweet heady we can. Watch them
writhe in violet shade, on their perfumed bed
of petals the past has loosed, climbing each other
like vines without a trellis—two grass-green snakes
so twisted together, beneath all that blooming jasmine,
it’s impossible to know, rubia, just whose head is whose.