Tuesday, April 26, 2011

because this is the place for rough drafts

Cecille in the Fort Du Roule Years

Dear Smithwick,
You are standing across from me on the dirt floor
of Fort du Roule, the WWII museum my daddy takes care of.

No one will see us here, these tunnels are off-limits
to visitors – and the hard hats they wear make it difficult
to see anything but the info placards and videos.

I could speak to you, since you are so close, but I cannot
because you know, since you have seen me in the schoolyard,
that I am sweaty, and the dust here clings to my face and arm hair like solid dew.

I will write you notes about my thoughts
in this journal, whom I shall call Smithy (for coherence)
and pass them to you, damp from my palm sweat.

This is too much for you, I can see by the way your jaw hangs,
but I cannot stop because I have taken a vow of honesty,
administered by that fountain that made me pee my pilly, maroon sweatpants.

Under your butt, under dirt, run two metal tracks that boy soldiers used
to run food and ammo to each other, “not much older than you!”, daddy says.
I know you would have been lousy in the war, but so would I.

I need to tell you that I get into the ammo crates
and touch my breasts, thinking about dead
German soldiers, and all the letters they wrote.

That is why I am writing to you, Smithy,
I want you to know that I am going to be famous
when I die, because I’m a romantic. Then you’ll feel good about these notes.

Close your jaw now, the air in here doesn’t taste good,
like those bad strawberries you made me eat. I vomited
pink stuff, but I forgive you for that so you don’t die of shame when this all gets out.

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