by Matt Prater
Featured Art: “Bull and Bird” by Madara Mason
There was a roaming troubadour in the years of maille & sword
who lunched on wild strawberries,
communing with the Lord.
But his creed was not dogmatic, & he didn’t bow the knee;
so found himself impaled by a roaming soldier, eventually,
when he would not sing the praises
of the ravenous Crusades. He held G-d
was the father of Muhammad & the Moors,
so went to Heaven softly, whispering amor.
There was a normal generation, for a while, between the wars–
chicken paprika & the Bauhaus & the post-impressionists.
None of life is automatic. France was big and France was grand
& France could claim Picasso. But France still didn’t stand.
But France survived, I can hear France say.
(J’ai vu le cinema verité, mais j’ai aussi vu que J’accuse!)
And that may be. But from what I know,
I am searching for Charles de Gaulles.
You can see it as I can see it. Something old was about to fall.
There is an awkward silence every time we talk.
The pattern seems half-broken. The thread is gone.
We tiptoe around each other. We are raw. We might come to blows
if we said what the other was thinking, or half
of what we know. There’s a cat on my warm porch,
sleeping so soundly I thought it had died. de Saint-Exupery,
perhaps, wrote his book Le Petit Prince, in the calm before
the end of things, during a summer slow as this.
Matt Prater is a writer and visual artist from Saltville, VA. Currently a PhD student in comparative studies at Florida Atlantic University, his work has appeared in Poet Lore, The Moth, The Honest Ulsterman, and Still: The Journal, among other publications.