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In response to Francisco de Goya’s The Third of May 1808.


I leave my sweater on the metal hook

and walk into the bedroom where he waits.


            Such violence visited upon the bodies,

            The Third of May 1808.


His hands are larger than mine.

We can both wrap our fingers around my wrist.


            The metallic spread of blood on the ground,

            and is that a truncated leg or a bent knee?


Keep talking, he says, just trust me. Keep talking.

What happens when narratives fail,


            when we can’t get the story right?

            A light shines on the white shirt.


This is the white shirt he wore

the first night we spent together.


            There will be no peace talk,

            and there was no warning.


Jennifer LeBlanc earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University. Her first full-length book, Descent, was published by Finishing Line Press (2020) and was named a Distinguished Favorite in Poetry (2021) by the Independent Press Award. Individual poems have been published or are forthcoming in journals such as Consequence, Solstice, Nixes Mate Review, San Pedro River Review, and The Main Street Rag. Jennifer is a poetry reader for Kitchen Table Quarterly. She works in the English Department at Tufts University.


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