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  • Writer's pictureNadia Giordana

The Viaduct of Madrid

Anita Haas, Madrid, Spain

The Viaduct of Madrid

The first time I saw you, illuminated

in your evening glory, I had lost my way. Running

up Toledo Street, hurrying

to meet a friend in Plaza Mayor, I rounded

the wrong corner and you commanded, “Stop!

Forget your silly worries! Look at me!”

Noble eagle, servile slave, you stretch your spine, crook

your elbows, bow your head. Your shoulders carry

a load of heedless traffic, pressing on you from one

set of fingers buried in the Moorish quarter

to the other, in opulent parks and palaces,

your wingspan - your yoke - bridging two worlds, and

– your back to the city - you look down

on crumbling walls that once protected the town,

on a park dedicated to its founder, an emir of Muslim Córdoba,

on travelers passing through you like a gate,

on the Segovia road, once a creek, the banks of which

housed the earliest settlers.

You shelter the homeless, watch helplessly

as the desperate leap from your shoulders, their ghosts

staring stunned at the spots where their bodies hit road.

Like a medieval fortress, stone steps race up

and down your slopes like beetles, resting on tree-shrouded

landings, where lovers tryst, and photographers snipe

at infinite angles, each frame bathed

in unique light, and cradled by arms

dressed in foliage.

War once crippled your mighty columns

Yet still you arch and gleam majestic

like a dancer, frozen in an ecstatic olé.

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