A Woman Possessed

her face blasted like a medieval weeper
Federico García Lorca

She remembered the charge.
A day like any other fall.
Her red shirt taunted dark shapes
in the street. The loud report
when that half-smile,
turned loose to goad the gusty animal,
stepped out to meet what waited.
She wanted to cast her body on the horns
of that forgetful season.
Black sounds hurtled from the chute.
The crowd looked on.
In that arena, narrowed to a skull
bone china shivered.
Clatter of Spode and Wedgewood
on mosaic tile.
The cameo relief of eyes glazed forward,
a crater where the trapped shale
burst its cone. Lava flowed
from thick veins into rock and there was more besides
the charred unknown
thin plates cracked
the sealed jar

on the grandstand shelf.
It may be, her reflexive feint
rushed the first dark lover,
proud blood in knotted streams. All night
the mad roar swelled
rain on the slack-limbed trees. Wet faces massed
on pavement. Nothing but this late fall.
It rumbled down on simple characters: a man
a legendary mount
a bull. Clay of their common drama
and the woman, old.

From Blue Dusk: New & Selected Poems, 1951-2001