Iberian Tour
by Rhiannon Thorne

The year in Spain, eating pork and
kissing dark-haired men, I had a big jaw. I took
the peninsula by his waist and held on
through the cities, learning the tongues
of the Mediterranean and taking trains
through olive fields. In Oporto I pressed up

against plain shower tiles and a man
with two earrings. The hostel keeper
made me Portuguese spaghetti, the beef blended
completely into red sauce. In the back streets
I mimicked directions, hooted out broken Castillian,
laughed through it with a cop,

ordered vin blanc at lunch. In Barcelona,
I cracked against the bathroom tile, moved
liked a wooden doll for days: strings tight and
jittery. A Catholic Sunday is a hard day
to find an open pharmacy. Over-zealous,
I split open my thumb snapping tiny glass vials
to taste their bitterness. San Sebastian,

the northern coast, laid himself out like a
banquet. I walked from bar to bar gorging tapas
and drinking mostly cheap as possible.
In the night: a discoteque by the beach,
still a bit nippy off season and full of locals,
I picked a man to slip beneath the faucet,
the pattern echoing. And every night Madrid,

the same 50¢ bottle of vino tinto, true wino heaven
in a ten by six blue bedroom. In the living room
there were three shifting tiles and a partially working
wooden chandelier. On our couch with hideous pillows,
my roommate tried to put his tongue behind my teeth. Later
I slept with his best friend, a man with

barrel legs from La Palma. In the morning
I hitched my bag over my shoulder, his limbs still tangled
in cheap Ikea sheets, to catch the train. Normalmente,
son los muchachos que se vayan
he offered as I
was closing my bedroom door. I thought:
no, it’s always me who leaves.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 17, Issue 2.

Rhiannon ThorneRhiannon Thorne’s work has appeared/is forthcoming most recently in Foundling Review, Midwest Quarterly, Words Dance, and Conclave. I also edit the online publication cahoodaloodaling and may be reached at rhiannonthorne.com.

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