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Gascogne Journey

ISSUE:  Winter 1986
I have set out to meet her
for a last time, to examine
a face that resembles mine
in one corner above the right eye
and in a temple vein.
Fontainebleau, Tours, Poitiers,
Angoulême. The train feeds
the voyager a dream of calm.
My mother and father, their secrets
hummed like rails, flew through
road beds and coupling cars.
Unlikely lovers.
“I’d almost forgotten,” she will sigh.
“Why do you persist?” She won’t look
into my eyes. I’ll watch her turn away
after I leave. A flutter of a memory
too swift to catch will vanish in a meadow,
a corridor of trees. Was it her face
bent over my crib? Were her shoulders
hunched when she whispered to the priest?
What did she confess to him?
I almost see her, my rare and somber visitor,
the mother nuns said was a cousin or an aunt.
The long aisle of lies. I also sigh, I,
unknown to the few of a thinning clan,
have come this far to see a blood stranger.
Bordeaux, Agen, Nérac, Espiens.
There are questions I will never ask.
There are answers she will never give.


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