Valle de los Caídos
by Jada Ach
Spain has no foolish dreams.
—Francisco Franco, 1938
All the women
spit on Franco’s
tomb. A girl flies
red kites over
the valley at night.
How long until
the dresses can be
starched? And the
piles of stones:
when will we
determine if they
are graves? There
are yellow stains
on all the saucers
and the mice are
forget the shape
of sheep, corral
the vultures. The
their eggs to water
Bread is burning.
The junipers are burning.
How long before
we eat the ash?
Jada Ach’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in the DMQ
Review, Adirondack Review, Southern Humanities Review,
Southwestern American Literature, and elsewhere. In 2012,
she was awarded a Regional Artist Project Grant from the North
Carolina Arts Council to participate in a writing program in Vilnius,
Lithuania. She teaches English at a college in Wilmington, North
On “Valle de los Caídos”:
Valle de los Caídos (Valley of the Fallen) is the name of a
monumental memorial for those who died during the Spanish
Civil War. The site was intended to be a symbol of Spanish
reconciliation; however, it continues to be the location of
much controversy, especially since Francisco Franco’s tomb
is housed in its basilica. When I visited the memorial fifteen
years ago, I witnessed a woman, who was maybe in her
seventies, standing on top of Franco’s grave. With
concentrated force, she spit on it before walking away in
tears. Twenty-five years since his death, and her anger was
still very alive—Franco, in essence, was still very alive for
her. In this poem I tried to imagine what life could have felt
like immediately following the death of Franco.
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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary
Volume 8, Number 1
Copyright © 2013
by Leah Browning, Editor.
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Valley Review are retained
by the individual authors