Astonishment of sheep grazing
on brown parched land
near the filling station,
a couple of lambs, plus egrets.
I swim lengths of the pool, tracked
by a dead leaf, a drowned wasp.
One afternoon I step outside
and can’t breathe.
A sudden rush of Levante wind
slams doors. Family argument
next door, screams and tears,
two daughters from Barcelona,
back with their parents for the summer.
Francisco and I talk about the gangsters
of Marbella as he drives into town.
He toots a car attempting
an illegal turn on the dual carriageway.
The kind of guy, he says.
What if he has an AK-47? I ask.
We laugh, a little nervously.
What is the English word for
cleaning drug money? he asks.
Launder, I say. Like laundry.
We share the Parque de la Constitucion,
its trees and fountains a thankful refuge,
with blackbirds and parakeets.
Once I saw a butterfly in the middle
of winter as I hung around there
while my wife helped our daughter
choose her wedding dress.