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Arras



I found Claudette at the tourist office in Arras,
handing out maps in a square no one leaves. Everything
radiates gray, and calendars
curl in their uselessness, but the river
will hardly drown them all, bent as it is

on the west. It all makes as much sense
as unscented candles. Uncomfortable shoes startle
cobblestones. This is the place for a sigh.
This is the place where cracks struggle toward each
other like lovers at night. Remember,

Claudette, crashing through ponds, resting on elms.
We crowded grass into our clothes and declared
ourselves nature preserves. Such delightful scratching. You
were a bird sanctuary, hoarding swallows in your
nostrils, a blue jay in your throat. And

when snow came and the grass dried out,
we laughed at slippery commerce, emptying granaries,
tin can meadows. Winter here, we know,
would be hell, Claudette, without the cardinals.
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Submitted on May 01, 2011

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