It’s November. Holy Year almost over.
They’ll close the Puerta Santa
for six years.
Walking down a sunset street
all the smells of evening.
An old man with his wife
his fat, cropped, short-hair neck.
Faint moped fumes.
Familiar smell again.
Old women, bouffant hairstyles,
puffed up in black fur coats, talking, talking.
A colonial bell tower with sky through it;
palm trees in the north.
Black birds in the trees.
Groups of joggers through the park.
Deep burning streaks of sun
between dark hills.
The sound of water from fountains;
branches losing their leaves.
Soon the students will be going out.
In the park, a boy and a girl walk their Alsatian.
Old men in berets, walking.
Near the cathedral, an open window to the night.
A scallop shell in sandstone above the door.
Blue fire from a workshop;
men in light-blue overalls. Half-past seven.
A woman whispers something as I pass.
Half-closed eyes, red eyelids, greasy long hair.
I go on. Police car pauses near the park.
Ratty fur coat, Cheap heels.
She lurches on.
A car leaves the Reis Católicos’ garage.
Door-men, glass doors.
Taxi—green light on top—passes.
A white-haired priest leaves by a side door
after Mass, walking into the night.
In a clothes shop
a woman lights a cigarette.
The Quintana is quiet.
November. The door still open.
The year about to close.
Seven years ‘til I come back.