At the Country House One Sunday in Provence

stars in the trees1
By Tobi Cogswell

Pears and honey—
des poires et de miel—
sweetness that transcends
a language meant to know in the bones
as I know in my bones.

When is a glance not a glance,
but a living history, a hand to the cheek,
viens ici, the crust of a bread
cracking the family tree? Salt.
No salt. I can afford to keep you,
or I can’t.

Let’s have some sugar.
Let me taste from your lips
the things we do not say.

I wear a green dress.
You see my legs through the silk.
They are not frightened, they are
one, two, strong, and standing
in front of you—a dare, not
an acquiescence.

Write me a letter en français, peut-être
en anglais
, it does not matter. I want
to feel each stroke of your pen
as if a caress.

Des poires et de miel under glass.
An antique table and Mozart in the courtyard—
a window so high, we don’t know
if it’s someone playing,
or an old-fashioned phonograph.

Gentle the pins from my hair,
your hand finds the back of my neck.
A sweet kiss, another crust of bread.
Let’s stir our coffee and grow old.

Previously published in Spoon River Poetry Review, 2009


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