One day the mayor of St-Siffret
orders every third lamppost snuffed:
bulbs removed, radiance plucked.
Every third light gone. At least on
the hill, where Belgian expats live.
The French in the valley can still
bask in unperforated incandescence,
& see the full bloom of night’s dark
from a safe distance. Why? The usual.
“Ces conneries de budget.” Budget crap.
At the Marché Nocturne, my mother,
a proud Walloon at heart, turns
her face away from the mayor’s lips,
no kisses on the cheek—no pleasantries
for thieves. But what’s the use?
Her little acts of guerilla discourtesy
won’t bring the lights back to the hill.
I have a recurring dream.
There’s me, my brothers,
our cousins, all bearing saws & spades,
roving like a cloud through the dark,
we find an extinguished lamp, saw it,
then bear it over our heads, through
the garrigues, the wooded bowels
of the hills, to the plains of lavender
where we dig a hole, & plant the post.
Like a cutting, a propagule of a town,
it sprouts into a whole new village,
eaves & gables stippled with candles.
Jonathan Louis Duckworth is an MFA student at Florida International University and a reader for the Gulf Stream Magazine. His fiction, poetry, and non-fiction appears in or is forthcoming in New Ohio Review, Fourteen Hills, PANK Magazine, Literary Orphans, Cha, Superstition Review, and elsewhere