Sunday, October 28, 2012
We hiked to the top of la Vouise,
leaving the charms of the French town below,
the farmers market where the wrinkled woman
wrings the chicken’s neck
and hands it to you to pluck,
harsh-lit cafes lined with linoleum,
and a girl you used to love.
We set out through cobblestone alleys,
onto a dirt road along a fallow field,
upward through the dry streambed --
a three-hour dusty scramble over rocks and thick brush,
no view except the anticipated one,
carried in memory from the last time.
The highest point is atop a rusted tower
where stands the copper statue of Our Lady.
But we avoided its spiral stair and graffiti,
sought instead the clear precipice
where limestone kisses wind.
We shared cheese, bread, mustard in a tube.
We drank red wine cut with water.
When a tired leg slipped its perch
your heart hiccupped into high gear
and you shifted your center of gravity
backward, into the mountain.
Stones set free by your fatigue
leapfrogged into the blue, blue air.
Below, the afternoon traffic was a foggy rumble,
the narrow streets unseen,
the girl lost.