When the Girls Arrived in Copenhagen
and left the station, near midnight,
snow fell in soft piles on their hats
No cars or people passed
while they walked
down the hushed streets.
Through windows without blinds or curtains
they could see Danes bathed in blue
or quietly reading in uncluttered rooms
small novels perhaps about two girls
long ago walking through snow.
After long walks down sandy power-line cuts
for wolf tracks
of a pile of scat on a trail to the bog
turd shaped clumps of deer fur
with ragged pieces of bone.
At the Flower Merchant’s in Toulouse
Basques and Spaniards, French peasants
not a generation removed from dirt floors
and speaking the old language of the South
yell at each other in the warehouse
beside the railroad tracks
where the flower wholesaler won’t give me work
among all the red and yellow blossoms
brought north through the night
that must get cut
then wrapped before they wilt
and where scents rise in a mix strong enough
to turn the whole place quiet.
When she bent over the twins
who were sleeping on the floor,
I thought that the sadness
and wisdom of her trip
still clung to her and hoped
for the time that would arrive
soon enough when she could be silly
again, loveably ordinary,
and I could look at her unafraid.