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Plaza de Toros, Bilbao

It's just the right amount of suffering:
the bull's already punch-drunk at the gate,
haunches buckling, furious with weight
of swollen scrotum, swinging bowels, sting
of picas driven deep into his neck.
With pink muleta flowering in the sand,
the matador turns once. His slender hands
seduce the bull towards the ice-filled truck
that idles for the tore's bloodied corpse.
It's just the right amount-the cigar smoke,
small trumpets bleating, women selling beer—
forget the spray of Franco's bombs, the lisp
to rumbling against and through the common folk,
collaboration fouling sweet night air.


(from The Lessons [Eugene, OR: Silverfish Review Press, 2011]).