Gains & Losses
We Have Traveled Here
      Tréport de la Mer, Normandie

All along the train line villages blossom with poppies,
sheep and ponies graze backyards, cows are down for rain.
A couple poses tied up in lacy bows among the jonquil
and nasturtium for photographers on their wedding day
as we near the northerly reaches of Normandy, stark
cabanas locked down for a fickle fleet of winds moving in.
It is almost sundown, almost August.  A woman pushes a broom
through our train car, in second-class, in half-light.  She smiles
at our French affectations as you kiss me on a train making
our way from Paris.  Along the noisy rails, leggy geraniums
stretch red and weedy at lazy sills outside the city limits, sleepy
windows shuttered from light.  At Tréport de la Mer, the sky
dims inside a northern night, waves collide, the wind whips
the two of us to each other, bundled by arms, intoxicated
in an unseasonable chill, exhaustion of a day spent walking
a rocky length of coast, climbing hills to the sun bleached cliff
where Hugo once paused at Le Calvaire and Beaudelaire wrote
pour les morts, les pauvres morts, where what we have seen
survives enemy artillery fire across the wild lavender, Germans
perched, hungry crows cawing the Atlantic wall.  Such a gray light
midsummer.  So dark the waters here where we have traveled
half the day to be, gulls raspy on a somber sweep of sky,
icy waves racing the harbor we watch from our coastal
landing, from our turret room where we sink down
into a bed fat with feathers and frills, turn off the light.
As if we have waited our lives for this, we pull in close
to each other, bloom in our extravagance of France, learn
the simple lessons of love, our hearts memorizing them
even as we dream.  For what else then can we long?
For now, curled into each other, we can call this home.

Photo Credit:Robert Avery

Copyright 2004, 2009,  Andrena Zawinski

Andrena Zawinski, Features Editor at, is a teacher of writing living in Oakland, CA.  Her collections include Traveling in Reflected LightGreatest Hits 1991-2001Taking the Road Where It Leads,  and Something About.  "We Have Traveled Here" won a Milton Acorn Prize for Poetry,  and was published in the anthology After the Eclipse.

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