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The Sacred in the Quotidian

Fall, 2005

Barbara Crooker

In Aix-En-Provence

Rectangles of light fall on Mount Sainte-Victoire,
as the colors shift, and evening’s violet cashmere
softens the landscape. I’d like to edit out
the industrial world, keep only the ochre hills, the dark
umbrella pines, the cold blues of the mountain and sky.
Give me life without newspapers, e-mail, and faxes,
TV, DVD, video, radio; let me sit in the sun like a cat
while patches of shadow move over my arms
as the day wears on. Where breakfast is a flaky
roll that shatters when I bite it, that sings like the sun
in my mouth. Where lunch is a ripe pear, slab
of melting cheese, baton of bread, all crust;
and dinner, with its dark wine, white china, heavy silver,
waits like an orchestra tuning up in the wings. And the mountain
turns lilac, gold, rose; colors the air around it, falls on my hair,
my crêpe de Chine dress, and, for a while, erases time’s tiny lines,
restores the smooth planes of my face, puts me back in my younger skin.
On the last day of my life, I’d like to be working, like Cézanne,
even if it means being pulled home in a laundry cart and dying of pneumonia.
I want to be out there, singing, as the rain comes down, solid blocks of purple, blue.


Previously appeared in print in Cider House Review.