“Paris in October” by Katie Rice

800px-Francisco_de_Goya_y_Lucientes_-_Duelo_a_garrotazos(Paris in October)
“Duelo a garrotazos” by Francisco de Goya, circa 1819

The endless summer,
the interminable summer,
under whose glare the Goyas burned,
Dos viejos comiendo now orange
with the handprint of the sun.

We go see them in their sterile room.
I let you take me behind
Las Pinturas Negras and undress me.
Two men dueling, knee deep in sand—
I sink dangerous into you.

Outside the Prado the dry heat breaks.
Next weekend I will be leaving
Madrid for Paris. You will stay
with your Spanish family—
it is time, anyway, to say goodbye.

You threw my house key through the gate
at El Palacio Real before I left.
“It is secret and royal,” you said.
“It is irreversible,” I said.
Now in the city of light and gold,
I watch amantes throw keys into the Seine,

I drink warm coffee,
brown like the back of your neck,
the darkest creases of your body.
Graffiti on the table reminds me
of Goya painting black and yellow frescos
on his walls before his death.

You alone in your house now,
(and hasn’t there been a death?)
remembering us before the Spanish heat
made me elastic, and you, callous.
I step into the lush French rain.

It is not only bloom and beauty here;
couples walk streets that smell like piss.
They make me think of you,
and you make me think of Saturn
with his white eyes and wild hair,
clutching his bloody, headless son.

A father eating his children to fight fate.
Those wild white eyes…
He once was a god,
once was somebody’s lover.

 

 

Katie Rice earned her BA in English: Creative Writing from Colgate University. She now works at Penguin Random House and lives in Brooklyn, NY.  Her poems have appeared in Black Bottom Review.

Read an interview with Katie here.