Worlds away in the grey
harbour of St Nazaire
my second cousin reveals
railway tracks encased inside
shipyard walls — an over-engineered
defence of resolute rust;
the only steadfast structure
predating the city around it.
Years later at airports we’d discover
that grand-père also wore medals
embedded in his chest.
Having out-stared him, this gaping
and twisted maw of mid-scream metal
now locks eyes with me.
Have I interrupted like Medusa?
Does the war rage on?
But I am not my grand-père.
Home is a shore far from here:
another invaded country
with a history for covering up
conflict, carpeting the dust.
It’s me who is immobilised.
Fixed to the stones of a place where
horror is a head of snake-steel
gnawing its way out of concrete
into collective memory —
not even a train line to
Miguel Jacq is a French-Australian poet from Melbourne. In 2016 he won the Nillumbik Ekphrasis Poetry Award, and was shortlisted for the New Shoots Poetry Prize. You can read more of Miguel’s poetry on his blog.