A White Bowl

Lis Sanchez
| poetry


            Dawn.  Waiting for you at the café

among the whitewashed posadas.  Shadows stir

with dim awakenings.

                                          I have chosen for you


            a miniature sea of white

chowder.  Tentacles sapped of color cling to the spoon

submerged in the white bowl.

                                        I have a small fever.


            Noon.  The stunned face of the inn wavers

with heat.  Behind its wall, our spavined bed.  In the bowl

limpets float like wan knuckles.

                                         When I want


my hands to unclasp, they won’t.

Footsteps ring near.  My skin tenses.  Sweating through

his shirt, the waiter says,

                                         There’s no more water.


            Fever grips me.  I ask him to leave

the bowl.  I know what’s left is no good.  With a gesture

he clears bowl, spoon, cloth.

                                         ¿Qué más? he asks.


            Once, you cut your palm vaulting a white wall

to pinch a spray of bougainvillea.

                                         I can’t say what else—


only that red sprig vacillating in your hands

                                         echoes through the street.

Lis Sanchez has writing in Prairie Schooner, New Orleans Review, The Bark, Puerto Del Sol, and elsewhere. Awards include a North Carolina Arts Council Writer’s Fellowship; Prairie Schooner’s Virginia Faulkner Award; Nimrod’s Editors’ Choice Award, and others.

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