The Spanish Lover
There were warnings: he had, at forty, never
by Claudia Emerson
married; he was too close to his mother,
calling her by her given name, Manuela,
ah, Manuela — like a lover; even her face
had bled, even the walls, giving birth to him;
she still had saved all of his baby teeth
except the one he had yet to lose, a small
eyetooth embedded, stubborn in the gum.
I would eat an artichoke down to its heart,
then feed the heart to him. It was enough
that he was not you — and utterly foreign,
related to no one. So it was not love.
So it ended badly, but to some relief.
I was again alone in my bed, but not
invisible as I had been to you —
and I had learned that when I drank sherry
I was drinking a chalk-white landscape, a distant
poor soil; that such vines have to suffer; and that
champagne can be kept effervescent by putting
a knife in the open mouth of the bottle.