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  • Las Ruinas del Corazon

    Eric Gamalinda (Zero Gravity)

    Juana the Mad married the handsomest man in Spain
    and that was the end of it, because when you marry a man

    more beautiful than you, they say you pretty much lost control
    of the situation. Did she ever listen? No. When he was away

    annexing more kingdoms, she had horrible dreams
    of him being cut and blown away, or spread on the rack,

    or sleeping with exotic women. She prayed to the twin guardians
    of the Alhambra, Saint Ursula and Saint Susana, to send him home

    and make him stay forever. And they answered her prayers,
    and killed Philip the Handsome at twenty-eight.

    Juana the Mad was beside herself with grief, and she wrapped
    his body in oils and lavender, and laid him out in a casket of lead,

    and built a marble effigy of the young monarch in sleep,
    and beside it her own dead figure, so he would never think

    he was alone. And she kept his body beside her, and every day
    for the next twenty years, while pungent potions filled the rooms,

    she peeked into his coffin like a chef peeks into his pot,
    and memories of his young body woke her adamant desire.

    She wanted to possess him entirely, and since not even death
    may oppose the queen, she found a way to merge death and life

    by eating a piece of him, slowly, lovingly, until he was entirely
    in her being. She cut a finger and chewed the fragrant skin,

    then sliced thick portions of his once ruddy cheeks. Then she ate
    an ear, the side of a thigh, the solid muscles of the chest,

    then lunged for an eye, a kidney, part of the large intestine.
    Then she diced his penis and his pebble-like testicles

    and washed everything down with sweet jerez.
    Then she decided she was ready to die.

    But before she did, she asked the poets to record these moments
    in song, and the architects to carve the song in marble,

    and the marble to be extracted from the most secret veins
    of the earth and placed where no man could see it,

    because that is the nature of love, because one walks alone
    through the ruins of the heart, because the young must sleep

    with their eyes open, because the angels tremble
    from so much beauty, because memory moves in orbits

    of absence, because she holds her hands out in the rain,
    and rain remembers nothing, not even how it became itself.

    From Frances