Tuesday, February 16, 2010


The Park Monceau, the Jardins du Alfred Kahn
The little canal (not easy to find)
that follows the Seine.
Have peach melba at the Place Vendome;
Walk to Montmartre; see the street where I lived.
We carry the memories of others
Away with us like extra baggage
Scribbled on slips of paper, tucked
into the backs of guidebooks.
We cart the best view of Notre Dame,
a romantic spot where vows were exchanged,
the Pont Neuf at night,
that meal when figs were fresh from a tree,
the hotel with the feather mattress
that resembled a cloud.

Diligent as boy scouts
We have trudged;
Tried to retrace others' steps
Only to find the restaurant closed
Or the fois gras not to our liking
The gardens too precious and planned,
the peach melba too sweet.
At the Rodin we preferred to be outside
in the shade of chestnuts
Than inside, surrounded by ghostly heads.

We thought we knew our friends
and they knew us
and they knew we'd want
small gardens smelling of roses,
museums with delicate pastels,
a restaurant where we could linger
over our anisette.

We cannot sleep the night you didn't dream
or fall in love along a little quais,
taste meringues for the first time.
We cannot find the person you were
when you tossed your head back to laugh
before the tour buses arrived at Giverney.

When I think of all we failed to see -
a simple gesture, an angry look,
love whispered down alleyways,
The hours lost trying to reclaim
That perfect sip of Merlot.

Dutiful tourists
we tried not to miss a single thing
and now we have missed this
and so much more.

Mary Morris

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