Alphabet of Torment

By NORMAN LOCK

Fluent in the languages of unnatural death, Luis Boscán set down on thick paper the confessions of the Spanish damned while, outside the cruel chamber furnished ingeniously with instruments of torment, the fountains of Seville produced liquid acanthus leaves to the sound of castanets. Had he been otherwise than agony’s faithful amanuensis in 
the service of the auto de fé, he might have written liras to the woman in the silk bazaar (the whiteness and elegance of whose neck reminded him of a swan’s) with a calligraphy derived from limpid columns of 
water. But the Latin’s stern characters—barbed and black—with which he compiled for the Inquisition its savage history had murdered all desire, as light pulsing in veins of water might grow dark with the soot of the dead.

 

 

Norman Lock has written novels and short fiction as well as stage, radio and screen plays.

Click here to purchase Issue 03

Alphabet of Torment

Related Posts

Image of almonds pouring from a glass bowl.

Reina María Rodríguez: Poems in Translation

REINA MARÍA RODRÍGUEZ
Naturally, Flaubert’s parrot / could not be called Chucho, / his author wouldn’t stick him / with a name like that. / From which follows the importance of names. / But in the stories last night / —the reconstruction of a postcard / which we were creating...

Image of hill, river, and houses.

Joss

PATRICIA LIU
Paper is thin. In the beginning, still billows in the wind, still petal-like, still grounded in this world / of living. The incense is the only material that translates the viscera to mist. Early, the fog has not yet / lifted, and we move through the white drip as if through total darkness. Fish lost in the deep under- / water.

poetry feature image

March 2021 Poetry Feature: Sylvie Durbec

SYLVIE DURBEC
I still don’t know how to type a tilde on a computer keyboard / when writing the name of a Spanish or Portuguese writer I love. / Nor do I know what poetry is. / I don’t know whether we need it. Or not. / And what we really need here. / Elsewhere, water, bread, milk.