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By Lauren Scharhag

It’s hard to imagine how

once I stood half a world away

from where we would meet,

looking out over saffron fields.

All summer long, I watched

the low green plants

poke from sandy soil,

but I would be gone

before the crocuses

could bloom, exposing

by night their

coveted red stigmas.

I would never have

the orange-stained hands

of a mondadora.

Now, as many years later

as my age that summer,

you buy a bottle

of the expensive spice

with just a few threads inside

like a witch ball,

and serve me paella

in our own kitchen.

One day, you promise,

you’ll give me back

La Mancha.

With my mouth

full of rice,

I believe you.

Lauren Scharhag is an award-winning writer of fiction and poetry. She is the author of Under Julia, The Ice Dragon, The Winter Prince, West Side Girl & Other Poems, and the co-author of The Order of the Four Sons series. Her poems and short stories have appeared in over seventy journals and anthologies, including Voice of Eve, Isacoustic, The American Journal of Poetry, and Gambling the Aisle. She lives on Florida’s Emerald Coast. To learn more about her work, visit:

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