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Homesick Gerald Stern I was reading again and French apples were on my mind and oranges the way they sold them in giant carts and how the skin was thick and loosened from the flesh and how it made an orange saucer where you placed the sections after you pulled the threads away, the ugly word "pith," it's called, and raspberries with cream— and how it would have been if I had stayed in the same hotel another eight or ten years and married someone else—it always comes to that—and taken up another trade, for as you know what we call nostalgia is for the life we didn't live, so much for homesickness, and I am homesick too for southern Spain, where I didn't live, but mostly for Mogador (where I didn't live) with the tiny white streets and blue shutters, one store the flutes on one side, the drums on the other, the synagogue smaller than the African Methodist church on North Governor Street in Iowa City before they rounded us up, though we had two days, for we had spies, to tear the linings open and sew our jewels in and our thousand franc notes, although we had to leave our heavy furniture behind, and Libby's picture, when we boarded the plane for Paris, more like the camel that took us to live with the Berbers in the Atlas mountains twenty-five hundred years ago than not like, all of whose fault it was that Ezra who preached the ups and downs; and how the Berbers welcomed us, 77 Ecotone: reimagining place and how the French put us in crowded rooms and made us sit for hours, for they believed in égalité, so everyone should die of boredom equally and Vive La France and Hail to the Eagle and Rah, Miss Liberty, one of her breasts exposed—I have nostalgia for your life too, what are you, Mongolian? Don't leave the rugs behind, milk the horses! Are you a Russian? You are great at this. Light the samovar! I give you my past for nothing. Here is your number. Line up, my lovers! 78 ...


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pp. 77-78
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