No Rhymes

by Hédi Kaddour

No ocean, no rhymes, the prudent
mountain, long walks and sometimes
when we thought too highly of ourselves
a huge bovine herd, just before the slap
of Mont Blac, on the far side of a grassy shoulder.
we walked right through. “Don’t be afraid,
they’re only cows.” “I’m telling you,
over there, no, on the right, there’s one
with balls, where…” “Speed up,
she’s right behind us!” And in the evening,
her panties were tangled with the devil’s in
laughter and the smell of straw, life
danced like a vertigo of stars but
only water never forgets its course
and in the city, after midday, there are
no more cows: she goes by
slowly, that lady, at a distance of years
without recognizing and passes by! While there’s
honking at l’Opéra because a bus driver
is weeping in the gutter; you’re left to quibble
about memories like some excommunicate, plunge
your nose in your Spaten, then
write this right away, what’s left of it
is more fragile than a spider’s house
but you must feel as if any passer-by
could get your table hurled at his jaw.

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