Issue Forty-One - Winter 2023

Les Nouvelles

By Michael Hanner

It was the kind of news should come
in a light blue envelope with French stamps
and my name and address in cursive, in black ink
or typed on an Olivetti with keys in need of cleaning,

but it was there with the usual glut of emails
begging me to buy this or that or go hither and yon.
The owners are tired. The house on the river
where we had spent so many Septembers is sold.

I remember waking to the distinctive sound
of swans flying down river to feed on the water weed
growing long at that time of year. A lot of French rivers
come with villages and swans and water weed too

where one can walk up in the cool morning
to a boulangerie for a sack of warm croissants
and a couple of baguettes. But not the one
where Charlotte comes through the curtains

brushing her apron at the sound of the bell.
Who smiles as I place my order in poor Anglo-French
without the need to point at the dazzling array
of religieuse, beignets and éclairs in their glass case.

I know the boucherie across the lane won’t last
two years before succumbing to the prices and selection
of the meat department in the Supermarche
across the river, easy parking, air conditioning.

The librairie where I bought English newspapers
and a copy Sud-Ouest after ogling the amazing collection
of maps has already moved into the mall.
I don’t want any new maps.

Copyright Hanner 2023