At a Poetry Reading in the Swiss Alps, Joachim Sartorius Speaks of Tunis

Leukerbad. The alter Bahnhof
is no longer in use,
but the walls, white and clean
bear fresh paint.
Outside, clouds stack up
and thunder chugs
like a far-away train
climbing a final run to this station
with its waiting room filled.
You read to us of Tunis
and spread a Stadtplan at our feet.
Blue sky, blue sea, and dunes take over
this narrow mountain valley,
Mediterranean heat warms the station,
stills the thunder and we follow you
through the cities of the east.
The clock stops at twelve.
There are no punctual trains to catch—
just this slow walk through Tunis,
Odessa, Prinkipo.
You turn your last page
and fall silent.
We shift on our plastic chairs.
The thunder breaks.
The rain falls.

About the author

Jennifer Saunders is an American living near Bern, Switzerland, with her Swiss husband and their two Swiss-American sons. Her work has appeared previously in…

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Issue 07 · November 2009

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