Anna Madrigal

That January night I caught a ride to a bar in a city I’d only heard

about until I was glancing shyly out the backseat window, O Boston 

and didn’t it seem like a good idea? We were all just trying to connect

as they say, It’s all in who you know. I know I like Indian pale ale

eyes, smart labels, a graphically designed specimen 

of either 

of any 

of no gender. It’s more about the war wounds anyway and then 

that night, 

he on one side

I on the other, 

How many tattoos do you have? 

like I’ve never been asked, though just then I began to feel it, 

the way I start to feel when I’m near big bodies of water, a fluidity, 

as if my mother made late 80s love on-board a sea god

 and my birth was a Katrina, a Camille, a Sandy, 

and when I look across at him, he unflinching in the center of my

 tumultuous helix, I allow it: 

“I’ve lost count.” 

Later, with this specimen of leather and argyle, Stranger, 

on the platform just waiting but waiting less 

alone than before, I think of the temple veil, wouldn’t

 it have been so dark? and isn’t this just another attempt

at connection? Streets swimming with lights green, yellow, red, 

but please don’t stop, I didn’t want to stop. They say 

at the hour of Christ’s death, that fabric split, 

as the man in South Station 

began playing Pachelbel’s Canon, jazz riffing 

to a tambourine half-time tick. I didn’t look 

directly, I didn’t kneel and drop change. Meanwhile that sweet 

jive tore me a little bit more from the top down, 

incapable of mend or stitch or river or thread, 

two halves, two sides but of what, if not the same coin? 

and at that hour, they say their god would never again 

return to a temple made by man’s calloused, wicked hands, 

and we lost those hours but maybe they play on, looping 

continuously, because there in waiting, smelling piss and 

liquor, listening to the man with his open guitar case of silver and singles, 

there, split-heeled, raw soled and molting, 

six pack lips on citrus skin, a couple of live wires snapping in the darkness 

I was in the Holy of Holies.

Anna Madrigal has relied on the written word to help navigate through life’s unpredictable happenings since her second decade on this blue rock. She’s a librarian by day and leader of a pack of five blended munchkins.