Peter Schwartz

The Matador handed me the bull's severed ear,
a trophy of his victory and the bull's predictable defeat.
He was called El Tiempo Grande.
They'd saved the biggest for last.

His ear filled my hand.
I raised it to the sky and then to the crowd
saluting El Toro's rage and defeat
at the hands of Pablo Hermoso de Mendoza.

Pressing the bull's ear to my own, I heard:
        the morning of his birth
        the pastures of Southern Mexico
        the blood as it seeped into the ground
        the last glimpse of the sun
        the tears as they cut his throat

As they dragged his carcass out of Plaza de Toros,
I saluted him again,
he who symbolized the burden of rage
and the insanity of being born a male.

(First appeared in Bathtub Gin)
Charles P Ries