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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, December 29, 2016.
About this Poem 

“This poem is in the voice of a person and a place. San Sebastian is the prettiest town in northern Spain, known for its film festival and lovely beach coves. Sebastian is also a common saint, associated with gay suffering, covered in arrows like a voodoo doll, and in nearly every church in Spain.”
—Spencer Reece

San Sebastian

              Still singing in my cell
of succulents, staked by a man
who fled. Nothing personal.
How often I get that wrong…
I move on—

              some man
is always fleeing, and that
is never personal. The longer
I go the fewer notes I need. 
My torso a sort of hotel.
Martyrdom bores me.
My hook-ups a new flamenco—

              will I be saved?
The peninsula tilts its goblets.
I am alone.  
Wasn’t I always?
Swifts fleck the dry grass. 
By my absence you’ll know me.

Copyright © 2016 by Spencer Reece. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 29, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Spencer Reece. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 29, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Spencer Reece

Spencer Reece

Spencer Reece is the author of The Road to Emmaus (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014). 

by this poet

poem
I am thirty-three and working in an expensive clothier, 
selling suits to men I call "Sir."
These men are muscled, groomed and cropped--
with wives and families that grow exponentially.
Mostly I talk of rep ties and bow ties,
of full-Windsor knots and half-Windsor knots,
of tattersall, French cuff, and English
poem
I was a full-time house sitter. I had no title.
I lived in a farmhouse, on a small hill,
surrounded by 100 acres. All was still.
The fields were in a government program
that paid farmers to abandon them. Perfect.

I overlooked Union Lake, a small lake,
with a small ugly island in the middle--
a sort of mistake,
poem

After my mother and father fight, my father takes my hand and we walk down to the Mississippi where he smokes Camel cigarettes. He flicks his ashes away from me. He rarely says my name. All day on TV, I watch monks in Saigon douse themselves in gasoline and light their saffron robes on fire. When they ignite, they