Matthew Sweeney

The Matador

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The matador scowled at the back

of the bar, and sipped his beer.

He wanted to stab the people

who stared at him. His black tie,

his black suit didn’t shield him

from their eyes. He ordered

testicles, his unique entitlement,

and a carafe of deep red wine.

He flung his right arm around,

as if he was twirling his cape,

and declaimed a line of poetry,

then giggled, and apologised.

Tomorrow he was going out

against a bull from Miura. Where

was the flashbulb reception?

He fixed his eyes on a bearded

man who might be discussing him —

he sipped his wine, remembering

the white-socked bull in Toledo.

He could never be defeated.