The Guadalquivir in August
Daybreak, and I amble down Almansa through haze that screens the thoroughfares. This is my timeless habit, as are sleepless eyes, heart meds, fried eggs, letters I forever fail to send home. For now, this river grows only silence: embankment walls beveled with first light, stone stairs that dip to its smoke-green glissando. The sun begins its hard lock on the streets. By noon, every doorway will be threshed by heat. On Isabell’s bridge, someone still sings last night’s ballads. I want to join in, but a raw tongue and dry throat have stolen the words I need. The river conducts its first traffic. Crows appear unsummoned like blown cinders, lumbering in the soft surprise of blue, troweling with beak and claw the scraps of castoff fish. I watch the bridge, the errant singer now gone. A kestrel’s shadow wheels in from nowhere, hangs flightless over the river.