Hermana Chiquita

Andalucia, nestling in Southern Spain,
Land of passion and burning desire.
The ones known as Romanis roved this terrain:
This birthplace of Flamenco Fire.

The lighting was dim in the small gypsy cave,
The air heavy with incense and smoke.
The olive-skinned girl took her place on the stage
And, as if by design, no one spoke.

A swarthy-skinned man with deep scars on his face
And his foot resting over a chair,
Picked up a guitar with a lover's embrace
And caressed it with reverence and care.

He tilted his head as he brushed at a chord
And adoringly, plucked every string.
So many emotions, it seemed, from him poured;
In his hands, how that guitar did sing.

His music was ageless...so new yet so old.
Each note, crystal-clear, pure and clean.
His expression grew youthful and daringly bold.
How handsome he once must have been.

The harmony played by this darkly-tanned bard
Was the essence of love and romance.
As he strummed with his fingertips, calloused and hard,
The electrical mood was enhanced.

The girl's movements were fluid as her body swayed
Like the cape of some brave matador.
Her castanets clicked to their own serenade
As her boot heels tapped fast on the floor.

Her dress, deepest crimson, was trimmed with black lace,
Carefully mended to hide every tear.
Yet her ebony eyes shone with pride and with grace,
Eyes as dark as her long raven hair.

The music was vibrant with power and drive;
It created a strange atmosphere.
It was almost like rhythm itself were alive
And had taken up residence here.

Faster and faster she twirled to the beat
'Til it seemed that she danced In a cloud.
The scene shimmered brightly with feverish heat;
The crescendo incredibly loud.

As the still-haunting melody flickered and died,
The girl breathlessly fell to one knee.
Beneath her long lashes, she searched every side
'Til her gaze came to rest upon me.

At first, I believed it to be just a glance
In her quest for the one that she sought,
Then I realized that this had not happened by chance,
As she bombarded me with her thoughts.

"Hermana chiquita, your skin is so fair
And your eyes, once like mine, are now blue.
Your features are different and auburn, your hair.
You are changed, but I know it is you."

Her voice echoed clearly, though she spoke no word;
Time and space had no meaning, it seemed,
And yet, in the depths of my mind, something stirred:
A remembrance or merely a dream?

"Hermana chiquita, search deep in your past,
The past of a shared history.
Mornings spent running barefoot through dew-laden grass;
Mornings spent, running wild, running free.

"Balmy nights when the stars decorated the sky
And our men wore those earrings of gold;
What we had then was something that money can't buy.
Fortunes won...fortunes lost...fortunes told.

"Timeless days spent in riding the old caravans
As the wheels made their marks in the dust.
We were dreamers and poets and true artisans,
But were treated with fear and distrust.

"They labelled us derelicts, gave us no rights.
They bought us and sold us like slaves.
They said we stole children from their beds at night.
They hounded us into our graves.

"They branded us cheaters and liars and tramps,
They said we did not pay our debts;
Under cover of darkness, they burned down our camps.
They shadowed our lives with their threats.

"But, hermana chiquita, our strength would endure;
In our unity, none stood alone.
Although we were ragged and wretched and poor,
Our spirit, they never could own.

"Hermana chiquita, you've been gone so long
That you could not remember the truth.
It was here that your heart sang its very first song;
It was here that your soul spent its youth."

The moment was endless, I heard the mob's shouts
And I wanted to cover my ears,
"Cutthroat murders...worthless thieves...vagabonds...louts!
We don't welcome your kind around here!
"

"Hermana chiquita, don't forget who you are;
Don't forget this is where you came from.
We are wanderers by nature, and though you've gone far,
It is here you will always belong.

"I am saddened that I cannot call you by name,
But some things were not meant to be.
We are so very different, yet so much the same;
We are one...I am you, you are me."

She rose to her feet and acknowledged the crowd,
There were cries of "Encore!" and "Ole!"
Her exit was stately, majestic and proud,
But she never again looked my way.

Andalucia...sparkling jewel of Southern Spain,
Where the music and dance spell desire.
The land where the gypsies once held their domain
And gave birth to Flamenco and Fire.

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