The Lost Country

Fall 2014 • Vol. 3, No. 1

issn 2326-5310 (online)

Souvenir in Trier

By Sally Thomas

This work was published in the Fall 2014 issue of The Lost Country. You may purchase a copy of this issue from us or, if you prefer, from Amazon.

Green oil smoked and caught. One murky light
Went bobbing one time through one finite night

Here on the northern edge of an ordered world
Shrinking inside its borders. The oil-smoke curled

Invisibly on the darkness and was gone.
The lamp survived to nest, a squat clay hen

On the shop lady’s palm. Sehr gut? she said,
Feigning patience. Fifty deutschmarks for a dead

Zippo, or its enduring antiquarian
Equivalent dredged up from some Valerian-

Era street-beneath-the-street, common as dirt
Itself–was it worth that? Would a t-shirt

Have meant more, or a postcard matted and framed
To say, We Were Here? A lamp that flamed

Once briefly, waned, died, and was thrown away:
Does it revive for us that chancy day

Of sun, rain, each other, in that town
At the end of the straight road, where the stone

Walls rose, fell, were scattered, all but one
Time-black segment standing in unveiled sun

To be photographed and photographed by us
And forty Japanese whose crimson bus

Snorted as it waited in the street.
Blink went forty-one shutters. That was it.

A woman wiped her lens and then her sunglasses
With special tissue. So a moment passes

Into silence and is lost. What passed between
The Black Gate and the shop remains unseen.

Did we eat ice cream? Did you hold my hand?
Was I morning-sick? Mein freund, mein freund,

I can’t remember. Only the shop-room, dim
After the brilliant street, only the woman’s firm

Question -- So? Her impassive silhouette.
What else did she have to sell us? I forget.