A goldfinch dips its beak into the fountain’s rain-filled basin. Ivy and overgrowth circle what used to be servants’ quarters; a carpet of weeds has taken over the curved driveway. Legends still abound: how in the abandoned mansion, the dictator’s ghost rakes paths along the upper hallways, banging each door open in search of dark-haired concubines. They’ve all fled, taking his bastard children who all share the same middle name. His cronies that used to drink with him till dawn are dead; or they are senile, jaws slack and open in the yellow air of a nursing home. Only the crows and rodents have political ambitions here, foraging for remnants in the courtyard where his only sister once rode a horse at sunset, wearing nothing but her insolence and ambition. Those were the days, say the peasants. They recall the fireworks that brillianced the skies on festival days, the morse code that spelled out the dictator’s name in rifle bursts. Once a year a black limousine with tinted windows rolls into town and the driver in sunglasses steps out to push back the rusted gates; and a younger woman leads an older one, half blind and hobbling, over the stone steps to lay a wreath of roses on a gravestone beneath the gnarled cypress trees.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.