Twenty-First Century Flint Mary Leonard

A Meditation On The Secret Life

for Ron Witt

We move toward names we don’t know:
Vaucluse, Tom, Luberon—all secrets
like the farms of lavender we discover
around every bend. We play
games of hide-and-seek
and the language of pastis and lust.

We need to know, to will, to act, to lust
for what we’ll never know,
traveling roads not on the maps, our
American accents as secret
as the time and place we play
with reading Petrarch, discovering

through explication a language hiding
a man’s history, all shadows like the stories
of our lives: death, divorce, AIDS—the secrets
we scatter to this group we barely know:
but we don’t speak about lust,
only imagining this Laura, all play,

allusions to wrap around ourselves
like the towels and t-shirts we discover
are tents at the Mediterranean, our secret
parts all covered like the known
lives we left, even love
lives hidden for our need for solitude, to play

in Avignon, where every street’s a play,
where we treat ourselves
to Fourth of July picnics, Bastille Day, no
time can hold us as we discover
what we really love,
maybe telling in letters or journalsecrets

for those we trust. Only human, we’re secretive
to strangers—this group we’ve played
with for weeks, hiding our lusts,
from ever discovering
how we live and how we die, knowing

no way to tell those secrets
except in this discovered world, Provence,
a stage for us and our mad desires.


October 2002 2River