Richard Golding

In Nîmes

In the evening, at the end of spring, in Nîmes, the only sounds are a faraway voice, an occasional car, and the shriek of swallows.

We lay on the bed, damp, naked, too hot to more than touch fingers. A fan oscillates back and forth.

The shutters on the balcony door are open only a little. One slice of bright sky knifes into the room. Every few seconds the swallows race past, circling in a race.

Step out onto the balcony. There is one swarm of swallows, there another, each flying around and around one building top, giving depth to the bright hot air all around and down the narrow ravines to the streets.

They all chase together, again and again around the track, almost colliding, tails flickering into a V for a moment as they dodge each other. Then the swarm splits and some make a new track around the next building, around and around, shrieking.

Go back inside. Close the shutters part way, back to one slice. Lay on the bed, holding hands, as the swallows shriek and the fan swings back and forth, around and around.

                    June 2002