Shadow and sunshine are equally shy
across the faces of the young French lovers
on the bench in the plaza near the Callejón de Besos.
The wind cools the sweat on their brows but raises
some uncomfortable questions: like where did they go—
those warm moist smells that held them close? Even their breath
floats away with the shouts of children and clusters
of red balloons.
Her nostrils below absurdly large sunglasses flare
as they did last night, when fully-submerged in her,
he lifted her off the bed and — clinging to his neck
and waist as he carried her onto the balcony and down—
she came again and again with each step
down the stairs and across the beach until the sea climbed her legs
to her chest and neck — and the two of them floated
apart like jellyfish.
He’s sprawled on the plaza bench like a crucified Christ,
arms spread, legs straight and ankles crossed,
eyes closed and face to the fickle sun. The ground rumbles
beneath the cobbles. He wonders what she remembers, if
she remembers, and where they are now. He wonders
about a cigarette and where the tunnels go. She looks past
the cluster of shops to the sky so blue it wants to assume her—
is that the word? Or it already has — and she’s hanging up there
like that passing cloud, pretty and strange, impaled
on the steeple.
Breakfast? he says, and looks at her.
With lovers, even young French lovers,
there are no questions but meaningless ones, and all
the answers are meaningless as well.
A stray lock blows across the swell of her lips, across a face
that betrays in stillness everything irrepressible
and equivocal in her desire. Soon men
might jump from planes and steer parachutes for the plaza, bombs
explode and a truck roar past trailing smoke,
but in their perfect state of unknowing, his and hers,
of never knowing, there’s only this
that matters —
when she turns her face to his.