Atomic Field  

We're on a mountain overlooking Spain that can only be climbed from France.
In one of those countries that is not really a country.
Stones white as skulls dot the stream flickering behind the trees
The same stones from which this farmhouse was built long ago.
The wine in the cellar, from Morocco, is black in a black bottle,
on its label a cluster of stars on a circular vine--
like Ariadne's corona, glittering among the constellations.
In the fireplace we crisscross planks from the burned-down barn
while blown snow, fine as sand, glazes the windows.
When I cut the loaf of bread we brought from the village,
I find a gold coin, neither Spanish nor French,
on which a woman with outspread wings
and flying hair is perched on a moonlit peak.
A coin which the following evening in town purchases us
a sumptuous dinner and a choice room at the tiny hotel
where the proprietor says we may remain as long as we like,
so rare is that coin, minted in Andorra itself--
a country with no mint and no currency of its own.

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    Copyright © 2000 by Nicholas Christopher.