Pepito at Peace

Photo by Nico Bastone
Photo © Nico Bastone used with permission.

The Nationalists never
marched down Calle Margarita
even when they took Caranque
no fascist boot
touched these stones.

Pepito sits on a white flat rock,
elbow of his flannel shirt torn, both knees
patched in black. The carbine rocks
between them, dancing a rifle dance
to the song in his head, A Las Mujeres.

Octavio and Fernando blew the song
across rifle muzzles,
flutes of the revolution.
They laughed around that fire
for the last time in mid ’38.

Pepito stops before the end of the song,
rifle at attention tight between his knees. He
remembers the plaza, Cacho’s fountain,
how the smoke turned the sun to blood
gunfire scattering anarchists like ants.

Octavio fell half in the stained
water, wounded, then drowned.
Fernando sat dead
against a yellow plaster wall,
a small hole in his vest.

Pepito doesn’t remember untying
his proud red scarf,
thinks it must have fallen off by itself
in the confusion.

Only he hears roosters crow
when he tells that story.

© 2019 Dan Erickson

she even looked a bit like you
Arroyo