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French Postcards
April in Paris, City of Lights
by Andrena Zawinski

This picture is for you
of the cafe where I rested
on the long walk from Tour Eiffel to Notre Dame,
and here is another of the Louvre,
with a view from the other side of the river.

Tonight, nibbling at the last
of the boulanger's stiff baguette and overripe cheese
and coughing on Gauloise Legeres, I have to tell you
the red wine must be finally getting to my head,
because I find myself alone and scribbling in the dark
in Paris.

the hotel generator has failed
midnight again.

At the window of this blackened walkup,
above the sax and scooter skittering St. Catherine's Square,
there is across the walk a light on the bright white tile
of someone's kitchen wall, a dozen limpheaded roses on the sink,
plates and glasses left neatly coupled at the drain.
It is the two of them I think I see below, arm in arm
and moving along the cobblestone walkway
through the shadowed narrow,
backs toward me.

As I'm scribbling in this dark,
I am trying to place where is the cache of maps,
carnets of tickets to take me where it is I will go next.
Afraid, without speech in Paris,
I weight thin French with pauperish smiles I try on,
like grande dames do hats in chic boutiques
inside Le Marais.

(Only the once, when I was not afraid
and dared a brief American skirt
with just English, was I mistaken for
Irma La Douce in Bois de Boulogne.)

Now that the lampe hums, flickers a promise of light,
Vivaldi swims up from the square on strings of guitare,
April, rain, on the splash of wheels spinning the street.
Everyone else seems to know where it is
they are going.

And me, at least I have traveled here.
Amour, I have made it
from Pittsburgh
to Paris,





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