Bandera Española

Tell a story, says the writer giving
a lecture, about the first time you think

you might be falling in love. Remember
the smallest details: the waft of tobacco

from the neighbor's porch where he sits
and reads all afternoon through evening,

hidden behind a waterfall of pothos
spilling from a hanging pot. Ceylon

creeper, silver vine, also called
devil's ivy because it is almost

impossible to kill and it stays green
even when kept in the dark. Remember

this and the rusted green of the garden
gate, the way your hand hesitated

before you rang the doorbell, waiting
to see if the boy that walked you home

would do something: push a strand
of hair away from your cheek, move

closer to brush his lips against it...
But nothing will happen here because you

already know this is a town where
everything gets broadcast to the four

winds before it has even happened,
a town where behind every window drape

there is at least one pair of eyes
surveilling the immediate landscape.

Perhaps it is the way imminent action
gets suspended; perhaps it is because all

stories of beginning are full of awkward
silences and hesitation. More than the color

of his eyes or hair or the texture of his
smile, you'll recall more clearly the dark

red spears of bandera española by the gate,
its flowers thrust open in fulfillment.

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