Postcard proseIssue 13 | September 2011


by Samantha Hall

People title themselves in Avignon.  Where you are from is of the upmost importance; everything else is secondary. If you are Avignonnaïse, that is current. But where are you from? Where is your past?

Many older citizens warble proudly that they are français français - French French. This, of course, is a very good title. It’s as good as it gets. You were born in France and you grew up in France. Avignonnaïse is your state of mind, and francais francais is your permanent condition.

Quietly, some residents of a similar age refer to themselves as français only. They skip the repetition because they were born abroad in les colonies – L’Algérie, La Tunisie, L’Indochinde. They are not les imigrés because their families were French and their lives are French and their complexion is French. Just because you were born in a francophone country doesn’t mean you are français instead of algérien. You can ask the mirror which one of the two you more likely fit.

You might have this misfortune of being a mahgreb, the poor class of darker imigrés from Northern Africa who practice that heathen faith based on Mohammed, the musulmane who started it all. You, mahgreb, are from the places the history books call North Africa. You are Muslim, you are brown, and nothing you can ever do will make you français. You run the kebab stands that lightly pepper the widest of the curving streets, the ones that can fit two cars at a time - if the pedestrians suck their stomach in. This is the history of all mahgreb, so if you are from outside La France, don’t bother asking them any questions. The français français will tell you what everyone knows - that they are all the same.

About the author

Born in New York City, Samantha Hall moved to Australia when she was two, and back to the USA when she was seven. She studies currently at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, but has also studied at the Universite d’Avignon in southern France. Among her favorite destinations are the French Alps, where she went sledding, and Italy, where she was kicked out of a number of Catholic churches for daring to wear shorts. 

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok