52 William Ford
On Foreign Ground, 1969
Pic St. Loup, Fr.
Suddenly Ben Webster’s blowing his horn from Paris so clear and so breathlessly I stop trying to tune the car radio for the Armed Forces broadcast of O. J.’s last college game. Easy, Ben, but keep it up. Ceiba Tree
I’m parked at the highest peak near Montpellier, scene of one more Edict of Nantes martyrdom I fit into the rough map given me by my saintly grandmother. I listen until Ben yellows out saying he’s had enough. Same for the game, I guess.
I sure hope my wife’s missing me under the quilt we bought against winter’s cold Mistral wind because I’m up here alone more than a little off playing at being an exiled Thomas Merton myself whereas I belong on Camano Island.
Nisqually Barn Window
Sheary Clough Suiter
Water puddles on the white tile. The ceiling is high, thatched and brown. The single window is without glass, its curtain discarded in the corner. Outside the forest leans close. Birds squawk in jumbled voices to the man exiting the bath. He reaches for a fan on a pole. The air is reverting from thick but clean back to sticky and interminable. The fan is burnished metal. No cage covers its blades. The cord, two-pronged, old and long, snakes on the ground. In a canvas bag sits a pile of journals. One reads, “Alaska will do fine for my hermitage. Not Kentucky. Never again.” Breezes are sneaking between trees, cold and quick from the ocean, made of a million different tastes and garbages: relieving nothing. When, before a sound leaves the room, do breath and space converge? Why is being unburden the longest way to spend a day? “I’m so lonesom’...” Through the wall, the radio stops. Continues. “...lights up a purple sky...”