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At Père Lachaise

ISSUE:  Spring 2012

It wasn’t always going to be like this
You were going to read books and grow up
and understand more you weren’t going
to bury people you were going to study
Proust’s gray-black grave at Père Lachaise
and read the note the Chinese girl left there
Who was she with her shiny hair, her violin case?
One day you would die but it was so far away
time itself would be different by then—
only time is not different as the years go by
just faster and it gets harder not easier to die
so you practice: climb the blue and unremembered hills,
recover your breath on the bridge
between the cliffs, trumpet-flowers
blooming like the robber barons’ wild hair
Your first bike was blue with ribbons
you called her BlueBell
along Pierrepont Street you sped
wondering who Pierre was and where
his bridge had been. Were you now
riding over it unable to see the chasm
of violet rocks below your pedaling feet?
Proust you are dead but I am reading
your white bones your black words
I laugh aloud in the French interior designer’s
soft white bed eating a pistache macaron
when we die gloved in earth we’ll wonder why
we ever felt aswim in shame the lawns of June
were ablaze the lawns ablaze


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