A farewell to the places I never visited

Anna Skinner


I want to bid farewell to the friends in Madrid I never met

The men and women and youths who slept next to me in the hostel I never visited
To the comfort I found when those strangers knit me into the patchwork quilt of their souls
And there, I slid into place

I want to thank the cook for making the paella that never touched my tongue
The bartender for mixing the sangria that they but never I drank

I want to bid farewell to the man who taught me to tango as if I’d been there

I want to wave to the tourists with their cameras shielded against Spain’s loud sun, because they, in a way, could have been me but I, never them

I want to send a letter to my brother and his wife

Tell them their house in Memphis was beautiful though I’ve never seen it
I want to engrave in pen the memories I never made, describing Tennessee’s fifth season in the flavors of barbeque and blues and bourbon

I want to write an author’s acknowledgment to embed in the book I’ll never publish
thanking the editor I’ll never meet, the agent I never convinced to take me on

Instead, I give thanks to a kind husband and a house that jails me
I give love to the kids I didn’t want but who are very real
I make way for the family vacations to Disney World
I push and pull a fighting Madrid into her timeout corner,
where her sun doesn’t blind us

If only Madrid could know the way I love them,
which is enough to sacrifice my dreams for theirs,
then maybe she wouldn’t beat against the cage of my soul
where a family of four silhouettes shield themselves from her sunny streets
and sparkling nights,
with raised hands saying,
It’s too loud for us here

Street art in Madrid (image from Pixabay).

Street art in Madrid (image from Pixabay).

Anna Skinner spends her days as a managing editor for a newspaper based in Carmel, Indiana, and working on her Great American Novel. She considers herself a budding coffee snob, of expert musical taste, and enjoys the rare trip to the mountains. Skinner is a learn-as-you-go type, choosing to leave college midway through her second year. She has a self-published poetry book titled “Rise” and a short story titled “Secrets of a Butterfly” published in the Germ magazine. Skinner has been writing since she was 8 years old. Her blog is available at theinkwell18.wordpress.com