At eight in the morning, after coffee
we must leave the House of Friendship
to pass the freezing day the best we can.
The Mistral is relentless so wine is bought
from a supermarket. All of us adrift
in the pointless boat of this town's winter.
Watching the more fortunate as they pass,
we wrap up well and comment on life;
we talk of sex like a distant folk tale.
Someone will get a dozen local oysters
from the kiosk; add a splash of lemon.
They slip down easy with a redolence of sea.
There's a guy who always carries a baguette
under the arm of his charity overcoat.
As old and hard as stone, just for appearances.
He's scared of the police - doesn't want
to be seen as a vagrant and as is well known,
the baguette is a symbol of respectability.
Just another snapshot of my misspent youth.
French Literary Review #32, September 2019, Editor: Barbara Dordi