Visiting a City on the Seine

In the shadow of the spiky
Rouen cathedral
there’s a tavern named for
Joan of Arc. We stop for a drink
somewhere, an apple brandy
is served that heats the gullet
and on the speakers
Kurt Cobain’s Nirvana rasps
and lunges. Back into
Rouen’s dark, buzzed from brandy,
we find a central building,
winged, trapezoidal,
that looms upward from the earth.
At a shop nearby, we’ll stop
for groceries, mundane
in next morning’s lacy sunlight,
but for now, fantastical shadows
skateboard from the monument’s
slate-ramped wings and the town
square’s night-windows glow
amid the whispering
nocturnes of what if.

Heather Sager