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Thomas Praino



            ¡Ole´! Federico

     (A Lorca homage for K.S.)



Three men squint in the sun

opposite a line of five pitch hats

and shoulder slung, well-oiled, Mausers.

The five, unmuzzled minotaurs, in pitch helmets

a finger squeeze away from a cup

of red Rioja, a needed break between warrants,

tidy court records, and labyrinthine files.


The three, a bard, well dressed

in a suit of lights, compelled to stand

between two strangers, frantically clad,

shoelaces untied.


The hour bellows five

when the snare drum stops.

Pipe artisans of pitch, a wind ensemble

of action musicians with iron bolts

and iron breeches

and a percussionist of clay to calcite,

raise their silver-tuned instruments.


The poet stares beyond the barren terrain

to the green, fig trees

of a Cervantes Spain.​

On the downbeat, the lead rings loud.

Like water, the marked men fall,

laces untied.

A protean heart erupts


and flares high up, a starburst

of black butterflies.

Butterflies, blocking like a Greek chorus,

I see them circle, a flutter.

India ink wings, white dotted,

fly from garden to garden

between the sun and the shade


above the hemlock and the hangman-trees

at five every afternoon.

Black butterflies, ballads of bare feet

and untied shoes.


Thomas D. Praino is a doctor by vocation and a veterinarian by profession. His short drama, a fifteen minute play, “Memorandum For Theater: Northern Italy, 25 July 1944,” was published in War Literature and the Arts, 2012. His short story, “Carmen’s Blood Song, (A Siguiriya)” inspired by the poem El Paso de la Siguiriya, by Federico Garcia Lorca, and his fairy tale, “An Ancient Fairy Tale of Ista and Her Brother Asar,” based on the Neapolitan fairy tale of Giambattista Basile, but set in the Middle East, are both self-published on Amazon Kindle.

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