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
bleached, then
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
getting thin.

forget the shape
of sheep, corral
the vultures.  The

cormorants offer
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
, 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

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 8, Number 1
(Spring 2013)

Copyright © 2013
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.