Museo del Prado, Madrid, circa 2004.-----
I remember that day I took you to see the paintings at the exhibit hall.
We were two small and gentle people, stranded hand in hand through marble chambers with high ceiling chandeliers as we passed by a man hanging from a lonely wooden cross.
You asked me, 'dad, why did they have to hurt him so?'
Oh I could not give you an adult's answer good enough.
Outside the afternoon had slowly settled in the gardens of The Prado.
Maybe I had bought you an ice cream before we sat on the grass as we looked at the tourists go by.
Behind us a billboard in the background displayed Titian's Venus of Urbino.
I stood back and took a photograph.
We were tired after the stroll back to our home in a second floor of empty rooms.
You loved to scribble on the walls, remember?
I never stopped you,
playing teacher, fairy or princess, playing mother with your dolls.
(How silly I was being convinced the postcard we found in the mail box was addressed to me.
It began "My dear love, here I am missing you more and more and more....".
Of course, it was meant to you. How else could it be?)
"For a man to face his fears he's got to pick up first his shattered soul. "
(It was a song) and though your presence filled with such grace the
sudden vastness of our home and the hollow of her parting,
behind blurred filtered photographs I had to hide my gaze so you
wouldn't see my tears.
Of why or how she had gone away, you never asked about,
I guess you always trusted she would return some day.