The village's been here,
here where we're standing
by the Urdaibai estuary
inscribed in the sand of skulls
Octavio Vázquez's Piano trio no.1 "Gernika"
a violinist, the cellist
they play and there's
the church bell that rings
during the Spanish Civil War
it's market day, in the main square
where many people die
when the bombs start to fall
a mural-sized oil painting
in black, grey, and white
come see a horse, and a bull
the wailing women,
the dead child.
Leonora Carrington's And Then We Saw the Daughter of the Minotaur
There were a cow-headed minotaura
a ghost dancing toward us.
The green moth-flower unfurling its leaf.
Magic realism and alchemy.
You and your pots of jam
boxes of black tea.
There's no buttery, no Gothic hall,
Crystal orbs that pull at the tablecloth
gateway to the chthonic dreams.
Past your house in Mexico City,
the melons stuffed with larks
past crushed sweet almonds,
past the jacaranda you planted
where surrealist artists in exile.
These white Xoloitzcuintles.
These dog voices.
the asylum glass door
the asylum gurneys:
all those restrained with straps
all those locked wards
all orange blossom waters
Tell me about yourself.
You say: My body parts lie on the floor.
Some say: Madness!
You say: The war.
There to the left, is a kitchen,
there the horned goddess.
Her small hands, her cloven hooves.
You want vermillion, earth colours.
Ilona Martonfi is an editor, poet, curator, and activist. Author of four poetry books, the most recent collection is Salt Bride (Inanna, 2019). Forthcoming, The Tempest (Inanna, 2022). Writes in journals, anthologies, and seven chapbooks. Curator Visual Arts Centre Reading Series and Argo Bookshop Reading Series. QWF 2010 Community Award.