St. Germaine District, Paris, 1949

My dad sets up his easel
in the ruins of St. Germaine
and I get to amuse myself
in the post-war debris.
Concrete slabs and twisted re-bar
throw mad shadow in the morning sun.
My dad takes a charcoal stick to the blank
canvas, roughs out
what's left of an apartment building.
Stained canvas becomes a battlefield
The hand and the stick depend on tension.
Six steps lead up to nothing,
fascinating to me or to someone
who studies destruction.
There will be no finishing touches
on this new order.
We try to imagine the noise this
would have made but the kids
went blind
before they were deaf,
were senseless before the skin peeled away
from jagged fire all around.
Theory and speculation no longer matter. There
is disregard for the form and content debate.
There is no counting of ambiguities;
it all goes up in a flash and
it all goes up as one.

But this is about art,
illusion that sustains us.
Dad puts up the one piece
that is still recognizable as wall
while I break rock and darkness falls.

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