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The town’s windows hang open mouthed and silent
and the buckled tiles send the sun scurrying
over the bird-less eves to chase the shade
out through the slanted streets.

The square is empty to the sound of a dry leaf
blown over the careful gravel
and the church bell is still
in its iron cage, creaking in the crooked heat.

Poor old Germain Nouveau forgets his bones
and dreams of Rome and the unburied dead
in the clay pink plains.

And time passes below the dial
where a quick cat studies the clock’s motto
and summer rises slow as hot loaves.