John Dorroh: ‘Conception in San Sebastian’

Conception in San Sebastian

My mother wanted to eat Spain
but there was limited time. Posadas
are cheap there, along the beaches
with their cafes of small plates and wines
and olives stuffed with love.
It’s always about the seeds, how they are planted
and tended and begin to break the soil
with eager momentum.

They dance until midnight in the salt
air, drunk with a four-day freedom
from responsibility, tending seedlings
with thin green sheaths of cellulose,
anchored by heterogeneous mixtures of dirt
and humus, tiny rocks and all other things
like that.

In the morning there’s the Hollywood
Café, glistening like a jewel in the Spanish sun.
She devours an American hamburger
for breakfast with French fries and
a Coca-Cola. They are lovers in the booth
and everyone knows, and no one cares,
and the manager picks up the tab. “You
have baby next year,” he says with a wink.

The Spanish sun can burn skin through
clothes. Umbrellas on crooked poles
bow as they walk hand-in-hand into the sea.
Be careful, they seem to say. The sand
is still warm in the September wind.
It’s time to return to France to see if seeds
have taken root.

John Dorroh

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