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Le Pont-Canal du Répudre
by Kate Kingston
Stones so old, I could slip on their weathered baldness,
scrape my knees on their crevices.
So old, I forget how they taste.
Stones so old, they hear my father's voice telling me
he blew up bridges in southern France,
the only thing he ever told me about his war.
Stones so old, they whisper, lilac, mallard, thistle.
They are stained with turquoise graffiti, grey lichen.
Bicycle tires soothe their eroded shoulders.
Stones so old, they remember my father's jeep, his army fatigues,
his head full of numbers, his hands full of dynamite.
So old, their crevices smell like lilies.
Stones so old, they fed the catapult that cut off
the walled city of Minerve from its well.
Now they chant, windmill, vineyard, Canal du Midi.
Stones so old they remember the purr of my father's jeep, rattle
of metal doors, his foot on the pedal. I place my hand
on their eroded grey curves, leave fingerprints.
Stones so old, they hear my father explain he's come
to cut off the ammunition supply.
So old, their ears are filled with orange moss.