Julie Weiss

                        —for Olga

Let's just say
for the sake of supposition
that it was a Sunday afternoon, mid-mission
and I was standing in our kitchen
chopping tomatoes, cucumbers, onions for salad,
frying chorizo, flipping a tortilla española,
olive oil and tears splattering my face,

recalling the way your voice
with its twirling r's and sensuous Castilian lisp
would lure me out of sleepy Sunday reverie,
how your kiss would elicit a wellspring of desire
in those places aching to be touched.
I renounced lunch and reached for you, then.

What I grasped was:
an image of you, clad in camouflage green,
curly hair pulled straight into a band,
bent over an injured soldier
on a base somewhere in Afghanistan

and all at once
I grew dizzy from the void
as if it were a maelstrom
in the middle of a boundless sea
whirling me downward,
to the epicenter of solitude.

Let's assume the air swelled with smoke,
smothering me, and I swooned.
Later, you will say:
did that really happen?
And I, shedding layer after layer
of your uniform, will say
all of it and none of it.

As we retreat to our bedroom
I will pull your hand to my breast and say,
listen: the language of my heart
doesn't distinguish between fact and fantasy,
it only knows love and loss
and the solace of return.

Julie Weiss received her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from San Jose State University. She’s a 44-year-old ex-pat from Foster City, California, who moved to Spain in 2001 and never looked back. She works as a telephone English teacher from her home in Ciudad Valdeluz, where she lives with her wife, three-year-old daughter, and one-year-old son. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Sinister Wisdom, Glass: A Journal of Poetry (Poets Resist Series), Stonecoast Review, and Down in the Dirt Magazine.