In Évora by Christopher Clauss

In Évora

Perhaps on our honeymoon, which she allowed me to plan
        I should have skipped the Capela dos Ossos
Not much else to see in that part of Portugal
        but when would we ever see anything like it

I should have skipped the Capela dos Ossos
        a tourist attraction not for the faint
but when would we ever see anything like it
        a chapel constructed of femurs and skulls

A tourist attraction not for the faint
        I already knew she was not fond of mice
A chapel constructed of femurs and skulls
        clearly it wasn’t the most romantic destination

I already knew she was not fond of mice
        Why I chose to bring her here I still don’t know
Clearly it wasn’t the most romantic destination
        It seemed like a brilliant idea at the time

Why I chose to bring her here I still don’t know
        There are women who hold skulls and those who do not
It seemed like a brilliant idea at the time
        My new bride was one who does not hold skulls

There are women who hold skulls and those who do not
        She likely regretted letting me plan it
My new bride was one who does not hold skulls
        I’ll bet that she never expected this

She likely regretted letting me plan it
        The bones to remind us our lives would be fleeting
I’ll bet she never expected this
        The rest of the trip would be beaches and scenery

The bones to remind us our lives would be fleeting
        Not much else to see in that part of Portugal
The rest of the trip would be beaches and scenery
        perhaps, on our trip, which she allowed me to plan

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Christopher Clauss is an introvert, Ravenclaw, father, poet, and middle school science teacher from Chesterfield, NH. He has represented New Hampshire six times at the National Poetry Slam as a member of the Slam Free or Die poetry slam team. Christopher’s poems have been published in New York Quarterly, Plants and Poetry Journal, Sylvia, and Bureau of Complaint. His mother believes his poetry is “just wonderful.” Both of his daughters declare that he is the “best daddy they have,” and his pre-teen science students rave that he is “Fine, I guess. Whatever.”

Editor’s Notes & Image Credit: This Pantoum is abot one of the most unusual sights in Évora, Portugal–the macabre 16th century Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones) covered with the bones of 5,000 people to serve as a reminder of the brevity of life and the certainty of death: Nos ossos que aqui estamos pelos vossos esperamos, roughly translated as “Our bones await yours.” See portugalvisitor.com for more details.