In the Orchards Outside El Escorial
By Ryan Scott Nance
I told my friend about Philip,
his devotion, his macabre design
for this mausoleum shaped like
San Lorenzo’s grille.
My friend told me about Philip’s
obsession for apple orchards,
he admired the witches and
rain of the Galicians as much as he
abjured their lack of will.
For us, it was the trees, their
bent trunks, the muscular necks
of horses browned and polished
in an ancient tar pool.
We were two young writers and
drank each other under. It was a small
principle we developed: release
and coil; hold & rescind.
On the road out of the forest,
loss was such an incidental.
My friend called me over:
three ants are carrying a dying
bee above their heads like
a gittering headdress he said
stooping over a dirt pile.
Those gardens over grew and
took hold on the land. I could
scour those orchards for bone tips
or the white rip of apple flowers.
And the furniture, of that stone
empire of fanatics & goldlust, rests
like severed fingertips all throughout
the deft galleries & chambers.