When the Bull Stops Fighting

So does the matador.

He drapes the cape over the bull

and says “Let’s get our wounds

cleaned up, old friend.”

Together they limp out of the arena—

the crowd unable to decide to boo

or cheer does neither.

Side by side they travel, the matador

and the bull, down an old, long

street El Greco could paint with his

eyes bandaged over twice.

The two shimmer in the heat of the day

and disappear, the cape on the ground,

the cape a saint shall bless, then destroy—

what is heaven but what we leave behind?

Published in The Southeast Review

The Saints and the Gods are Optimists