For sleeping between two chairs at the hospital –
two books, which I place under my head,
and a cotton shawl from India, maroon and cream batik,
to lay across my legs.
Of the books, one is Chekhov’s stories in Spanish,
which I don’t read,
and one a life of Lorca,
which I do.
In his last days
hiding out in the house of a fascist friend,
and in his last hours
in the holding house far from anywhere
before they gave him lots of coffee,
the code for shoot him,
I am there in the olive grove
with the old teacher chained to him
and he is here with me
perhaps wrapped in my Indian shawl,
the knowledge of his last hours in my vigil by your bed,
the knowledge of my vigil by your bed in his last hours.
by Julia Casterton