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By Ernesto Sarezale


The boys called me guarro
¡Cerdo!’ they shouted. ‘¡Marrano!
Filthy! Pig! They said. 
But I was clean. Cleansed by the sea. 
Every pore, pure. Covered in salt
from the Mother Goddess. La Mar
I’d swum. West of Gibraltar. The spot
where She copulates with the Ocean. 
Her lover and brother. Older and broad. 
The boys hid in a cave in the cove. 
Drinking lager, cheap spirits and soft 
drinks. They practiced 
their new found coarse voices. 
Bermudas and shorts 
worn over sweaty underpants, soiled 
by piss stains and post-pubescent pre-cum. 
Right next to the nudist beach. 
They laughed at my body
because it had crossed,
naked, an invisible barrier. Their thoughts. 
I got to the end of the beach.
I walked back. Past their roars,
placated this time but persistent,
mocking me, calling me queer. 
Alcohol, youth, and the laws
of a God they didn’t believe in 
governed their brawls. 
When the time came for the sun 
to hide. I braved past the rocks 
that marked the invisible barrier again. 
They were gone. But their footprint remained:
empty bottles, bags, cans,
broken glass, plastic and waste. 
They had said I was filthy. A pig. 
A swine. Dirty. Marrano. A hog.
They had shouted: ¡Guarro!
Those who were wounding the sea. 

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