On The Murder Of Lieutenant Jose Del Castillo By The Falangist Bravo Martinez, July 12, 1936 by Philip Levine
When the Lieutenant of the Guardia de Asalto heard the automatic go off, he turned and took the second shot just above the sternum, the third tore away the right shoulder of his uniform, the fourth perforated his cheek. As he slid out of his comrade's hold toward the gray cement of the Ramblas he lost count and knew only that he would not die and that the blue sky smudged with clouds was not heaven for heaven was nowhere and in his eyes slowly filling with their own light. The pigeons that spotted the cold floor of Barcelona rose as he sank below the waves of silence crashing on the far shores of his legs, growing faint and watery. His hands opened a last time to receive the benedictions of automobile exhaust and rain and the rain of soot. His mouth, that would never again say "I am afraid," closed on nothing. The old grandfather hawking daisies at his stand pressed a handkerchief against his lips and turned his eyes away before they held the eyes of a gunman. The shepherd dogs on sale howled in their cages and turned in circles. There is more to be said, but by someone who has suffered and died for his sister the earth and his brothers the beasts and the trees. The Lieutenant can hear it, the prayer that comes on the voices of water, today or yesterday, form Chicago or Valladolid, and hands like smoke above this street he won't walk as a man ever again.