And she begins to sing
at the Mesa de Frades.
Candles illuminate altars of azulejos
the blue annunciation and yellow unknown saints,
and where do the songs originate -
A young girl stands before the door,
the beautiful man strums the guitarra,
and she sings of lovers lost
to the riches of India,
and seizures inside erupt
as lyrics of armadas crossing the equator
explode into infernos.
Ballads of mermaids
sweet talking lonely men into open deadly waters
flood the small room with sorrow.
Her eyes closed, her body swaying
overcome by the grief of unknowing.
She moans for lovers who follow trade routes
sketched in stars.
The music casts spells to harbor
all sailors safely home,
her deep voice unleashing allure
and my desires, once pinioned and imprisoned,
as long lost wayfarers
shipwrecked by suburbs and dead end jobs. I claim
the guitarist’s slender hands
as the notes conjure
tangled sheets and skin on skin.
There, he cups his hand on the slender neck of the guitar.
New devotees endure the hot grotto.
We close our eyes as we are swept out into the furious sea -
After hearing fado tonight, I’d eagerly enlist
on any caravel sailing into any inferno
and follow the dark eyed guitarist
around his Cape of Good Hope
into the interior of my India
leading the landfall
assistant to cartographers
inking blank spaces on my map.
by Kathleen Willard
Kathleen Willard, MA Middlebury College, MFA Colorado State University, remembers her attendance at The Disquiet International Literary Program as a defining moment in her writing life. Forty of her poems have appeared in literary magazines and anthologies including: Bombay Gin, Matter, Proud to Be, and Landscape and Place. Her awards include a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship to travel and write in India, attendance at Vermont Studio Center twice, the Breadloaf Writer’s Conference twice, and her poem “Theory of Flight, Circa 1704” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, published in The Progenitor and won the ACC Writer's Studio Prize.