The tavern is low ceilinged and yet
sonorous, it huddles beneath a rock overhang,
huddled, but stretches itself back, back into the stone,
the rock, the earth,
It’s been here since the troglodytes.
The French were all troglodytes, before there was
ever a France.
The wide hide of the mountain rock
holds off the heat, so the wine is cold.
But the regulars are all splenetic
and argue the quiddity of things.
They dislike foreigners, when we enter
not for the first time,
they hush, swill and swallow the crisp
French white of the North
and amble off their seats.
The quiddity of foreigners
is our ability to find magic
where the locals have already
sucked it dry.