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This poem is taken from PN Review 243, Volume 45 Number 1, September - October 2018.

Five Poems (translated by James Womack) Manuel Vilas
Translated from the Spanish by James Womack

The Rain

Madrid, 22 May 2004

On the TV screens in the bars in Actur, Zaragoza
we saw the ’53 Rolls with its white wheels
(fifty years; only a thousand kilometres on the clock).
I was holding a glass of cold white wine,
and Spain was already heating up;
the Mediterranean hotels were being spring-cleaned,
rooms all opened, fastidious chambermaids all waiting
for the arrival of six hundred thousand Englishmen,
a million Germans, four hundred thousand French,
a hundred thousand Swiss and a hundred thousand Belgians.
We had white wine in our hands and our necks
craned towards the TV set.

Elizabeth II of England did not come; Elizabeth II
would only accept an invitation to the King of France’s wedding

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