The laser eye blinks as your measured step breaks
its ankle-high sight; you’re hypnotized by the mural’s
newsprint grayscales, drawn into the vacuum
of 3,000 incendiaries collapsing the canary breasts
of women and children gathered for market day
in Basque country. A museum guard motions
you back, but gently, for a man of his profession
—his half smile conceding that, after closing,
he welcomed Guernica home from its forty-five year
exile with a gentle caress, the tip of his tongue pressed
lightly to the horse’s throat, the soldier’s mismatched
hands. Outside, tapas bar waiters drag aluminum tables
into the street. Catkins extrude into falsely warm, February
air. The guard’s chin stubble sheds oil-black flakes like ash.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 17, Issue 1.
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