A Faithful Housewife by Dale Champlin

after Federico García Lorca, An Unfaithful Housewife
Translated from the Spanish by Conor O’Callaghan

When I led Harold
to my rock by the pond
I wondered if he was a virgin
though he would soon be my husband.

Would he guess that I was not?
It took me so long to answer for myself—
what does it mean to be a virgin?
The peepers were chirping their lullaby.

Was it the Fourth of July?
The train moaned in the distance
and I swore to be faithful
to this lovely man 
on this delicious night.

I remember the swell
under the coarse fabric of his jeans.
like a lily bulb full to bursting,
and the taut chambray
of his work shirt across 

the broad muscles of his back.
The night was black—beautiful—
the horizon a plum-colored bruise. 
A whip-poor-will wondered
close by. We were that sleepy
my Harold and I—

his skin as smooth as water
dead-resting on the pond,
his breath like a pussy willow
whispering in my ear—

all these years later I hear
how an owl, loud as a train bellow
snagged the night in its claws. 

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