How It Happened

By Chelsea Rathburn

Featured art: Girl in Checkered Dress by George Benjamin Luks

I blame that little village in Spain,
the one with the whitewashed houses
in a crescent along the sea,
a fleet of pastel fishing boats,
and that celebrated coffee with brandy.

A sour wedge of apple lurked
at the bottom like a tea-leaf fortune.

Because we couldn’t afford the fish
we ate pizza with peaches and oregano
on the beach, the sun and breeze conspiring.

Seeing us there beneath the cliffs
and the postcards of the cliffs,
who wouldn’t have predicted luck and beauty?
Can I be blamed for loving it all
and thinking it was you I loved?

Chelsea Rathburn is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Still Life with Mother and Knife (LSU Press, 2019). She lives in Macon, Ga., where she teaches creative writing at Mercer University. In 2019, she was named poet laureate of Georgia.


Twitter: @chelsearathburn

Originally published in NOR 9 Spring 2011

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