Last Visit

Now I set out across a minefield,

space having taken all I owned, I’m starting over

from a point where every pebble may explode

beneath my shoe and the flowers blaze up

behind my body as I gasp for air,

although in this world I’ve never known

either flames or dragons or the fury of war

in these lands where the sky was always calm

above the farms and the old schoolhouses,

and the schoolmistress from Angels’ road

has long since packed her bags in which,

under the blouses and wrinkled slips,

slept a handful of notebooks filled with stars —

so why is there suddenly

this thrashing in the leaves,

this breath of fire along the woods

across from which an electric fence

defines the limits of the farmlands

while farther off the lost wild geese

settle softly on the empty runway?

Pierre Nepveu, "Last Visit," from Mirabel. English Translation Copyright © 2004 by Judith Cowan. Reprinted by permission of Véhicule Press.

Source: Mirabel (Véhicule Press, 2004)