SALAMANDER

entry picture

SALAMANDER

From dripping dawn to milk churn

to sheep and village fountain.

From orchard and empty

mountain road to gurgling cherry town

I carried a yellow-black fire symbol

through deserted evenings in

hidden streets where men put away

their tools with an apprehensive glance

until at last we met and drove

the winding road to Olonzac

and sat next day in the bar

of the shuffling centenarian, proud

of all that chrome and his fabulous 

bottles. Izarra and Absinthe from before

La Guerre de Quatorze. Green dreams

and an ambush of photographs;

the striped salamander freed

into the cool, shadow-speckled water.

 

We drove through villages alive

by day but flower-festooned cemetries

after ten. All the way home, arguing

past a dozen similar places that

I never bothered to observe; the roadside

cherries crushed like a glut of stale moons,

you supine in the grass and cicadas

raising hell by worn factory steps

where I sat in thoughtful silence

not knowing you too would swim

away in time to a different life.

How the taste of your skin

and the memory of it years later

would live on only in the decaying

pages of a story never told.

 

 

Published in The French Literary Review April 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

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john short

Sun 10th Dec 2017 09:50

Stu, thanks for your appreciation. Seems I never stop tinkering with this poem and have changed a couple of words even just typing it into my blog.

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Stu Buck

Sat 9th Dec 2017 13:04

john this is outstanding work. just beautiful.

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