The 2River View 18.4 (Summer 2014)

Gloria Monaghan


The tip of your sword glittered in the sun
your white teeth catch the light
the gold buttons of your coat spun
into your body barely pressing against the sweating side of the bull
the small swords stick out of his sides like an indication
your dance with him; a spectacle
you push your body into the sweating side of the black bull
the swords pin him and decorate his massive strength
your arms bent behind you like a dancing woman. The lull
of the afternoon settles into the dust
flies hover over the sweat of the bull and the sweat on your brow
your bright red muleta flies over his body like a flower of lust.
Your hands are smeared with the blood of the bull
It is your second kill today. The stands scream with terror and glee.
The dust flies and settles on your black shoes. The black bull
is dying.  It is four o’clock. 
You don’t look at the crowd. 
You give them nothing of your face, nothing to mock
only your body as you swing and unfurl
your cape, moving slowly beyond fear in and out of the path of the bull
without really ever changing position, your arms as graceful as a girl.
You love the black bull and your dance is death
and you know he will have you
eventually. But now you move with grace and stealth
the gold buttons gleam, the red muleta flutters
sweat draws down your back onto your backside
an old woman proceeds to her window and shuts the shutters.


(A 'veronica' is a pass the torero makes at the bull to bring him closer to the
bullfighter's body, part of the seduction you might say.)

Every day I practice the steps over and over
every day I move in and out of your path in my mind
My arms make the motion with the cape in my hands above you
in the night over her, I make a mistake and am thinking of you
my bull
my darkness from the Miura family
the one that will come for me with its heavy crooked horn.
I try and laugh it off.
I joke to my banderlillos.
They smile, but their eyes see me
in my suit of light.
Every day I practice the steps over and over
every time I see her my heart moves away a little.

Gloria Monaghan is an Associate Professor at Wentworth Institute in Boston. Her work has appeared in Aries, Slope, and Spoonful. In 2012, Finishing Line Press published her chapbook Flawed.

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