Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Backpacking with Madame Bovary (Day 84)

I am stretched out on
the floor of an unzipped tent,
reading Madame Bovary,
while the nylon sides
breathe in
and out,
each inhalation
and exhalation ending with
a muffled pop,
like distant sails on a blue bay.
A hot afternoon stretches
ahead of and behind me,
baking dust and melting
pine resin a delicate incense
gently teasing the dry breeze.
I, however, am
a century away, in a country
where no one speaks
my mother tongue,
flirting and curtseying
and yearning and knowing
each character's heart
as well
as I know my own.
But, the pleasure
of my company is requested,
on a foray in search of wild
trout for dinner,
and I realize my hair is damp
against my neck,
so I roll over, stretch,
unfurl myself from the floor
with the effortlessness
of nineteen years,
and bid Flaubert adieu
until nightfall, when
my flashlight and I will answer
the siren call of Madame Bovary—
and the tragedy of her
unfulfilled heart—once more.

(c) 2017, by Hannah Six

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