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An Early Spring Day in Paris, 1984

The Seine flows

endlessly

around us.

We sit on the tip

of the Ile de la Cite

as if on a boat’s bow,

sailing up the river.

The sun shines,

like a promise,

after days of cold rain.

We drink a decent Bordeaux,

eat fresh pate smeared

across chunks of ubiquitous baguette.

Notre Dame looms

darkly behind

in its medieval bulk.

We are in love, as we

are still forty years later.

Nearby,

above a former morgue,

is a memorial

to the two hundred thousand martyrs

handed over to the Nazis by the Vichy

for deportation to the camps

forty years before we sat happily

oblivious to all but the beauty

of that one Parisian afternoon.

(September 19, 2019)

accents shift

from one neighborhood

to the next — one town

over– no more sounds

like yours or your friends

at the corner pub

where even the odd

and unloved fit warmly

at a table in the dark

where the fog follows you

home into a darker wood

until your voice tangles

among incestuous roots

and a knife draws

a line along your throat

at the possibility

of a misunderstanding

(April 22, 2019)