Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Held in the bosom of a city

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She Always Wanted To Go To Paris

For Kim

She always wanted to go to Paris. She wanted a pair
of boots not available anywhere else in the world;
buttered croissants warm beside a cup of delirious
coffee strong enough to flatten the Arc de Triomphe.

She wanted the light on her arms fragrant with mist from
the Mediterranean, a dark Moroccan man’s hand sliding
along the brace of her nape as if tracing the north coast
of a map of his homeland where her desire spends winter.

She always wanted to go to Paris. Stay for months and fly
to Texas to see her father, for him to live forever and still
be alive when she flew back to France and, when airborne,
settle into a dream that her mother would be at Roissy waiting.

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She wanted to misspeak a thousand irregular verbs incorrectly,
watch a waiter imperceptibly wince at her better-than-average
attempt to decimate their cherished tongue, order the wrong
thing and act as if it were exactly what she wanted.

She always wanted to go to Paris. To be mugged by a street
thug who clapped her in the back completely unprovoked
while his girlfriend watched and surrendered her right to be
counted among women who should never have to suffer so.

She wanted art flooding her senses, the audacity of it, the
singularity of pricelessness overwhelming her callow sense
of beauty deepening her encompassing of what it is to be
held in the bosom of a city of such incomparable light.

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She always wanted to go to Paris. She wanted to sit alongside
the river and watch reflections race the slow summer sun,
spy lovers lazing along the loping banks whispering French
words in French ears with French mouths hungry for conquest.

She wanted this and little else. To be seen among its citizenry,
mistaken for Parisian by boorish Americans who would never
know her uncle was the same cavalier swashbuckler as theirs,
a prattling young cuss who seldom gets the ways and words right.

Joseph Gallo
March 5, 2010


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