In Arles I bought three Camargue shirts
white embroidered in red and blue xanthous
and one azure fleur-de- lis in Large.
‘Paris est tres jolie’ the maker’s wife
while holding their new baby
showed me the workshop and pure cotton foils,
as her husband worked the sewing machine.
We gestured in hand to mouth comprehension
I made my choice and passed the Euros,
then while I tended Isabelle they went for coffee.
I got the babysitter’s discount and their smiles
were like the relief of an invested city.
Later, a grinning rubicund cheeked man
stopped me in the geranium clad street
laughed and pointed out a remnant baby vomit
resting opaquely lemon on my shoulder,
‘merci merci’ we wiped it off together
and I knew there is no such thing as a nation.
This poem is in ‘Abandoned Soliloquies’ UnCollected Press 2019
The Raw Art Review A Journal of Storm and Urge Summer 2019
(The shop ‘Couleurs d’Arles’ is still there at 39 rue du 4 Septembre Arles, and I still have the shirts)