That was the summer I went to Spain
and stayed, my Spanish broken
but enough to order rioja
—cheap and deep blood-red in the bottle—
and coffee at the same brass counter
morning after morning. Around me
the quick tongues of strangers and temperatures
my neighbors pressed shutters against.
At noon, instead of closing
out the light, I walked in it,
the lime-rinsed walls of the Albaicin
miraculous burning snow.
I craved heat.
Day and night I looked for evidence
of its rise—the skin's sheen, the soaked sheets,
the shirts and dresses with their crescent
moons of sweat. In the market,
makeshift canopies shielded
the heads of lettuce and fingers
of vegetables and vendors. I wanted
to eat everything. Later,
when I touched myself,
when I parted the bristle of pubic hair
and unfolded my lips, I remembered opening
the dangerous skin of prickly pears—
how sweet the warm meat in the center,
how sticky my hands with juice.
Poems by Melody Lacina:
for Comet Hyakutake
TEN: An Anthology of Northern California Poets