POSTCARDS FROM PARIS
Julia Caroline Knowlton
I bring my pain here, to feel it. To walk on smooth, apple-sized cobblestones. How they soothe. And the food, and the chocolat chaud. Music everywhere: jazz and solo cello and rap. But don’t get me wrong. The same suffering is here: heartbroken people never getting what they need. It’s just that at dusk, in the dark pink air, the swallows tell each other once again what they know. Then the toy boat vendor packs up his cart in the Jardin du Luxembourg. Footsteps across grass. There is no better color than everyone falling silent. Wish everyone were here.
I remain too afraid to descend into the Catacombs. Who can fathom the dark and damp? I hear that people arranged skulls into a huge heart shape, kept in place by stacks of tibias. (This was hundreds of years ago.) Cavernous palette of grey and white; holes for eyes. Holes never stop watching: beggar, thief, prostitute, prince. I think I’ll wait a while for shades and bones. Better to stroll up here, near the Seine and toll of bells, to taste a hint of ash in fresh air. I might walk in a garden so large. Or send this, and wish you were here. Now the rose beginning of rain.
All I want is to find my place on a green velvet bench inside La Contrescarpe, then slowly make my way toward the Pont Royal. That sweep of stone over the river, like a gown. Scent of Normandy butter in the air. People wide-eyed. It is so crucial to save up enough to fly.
Julia Caroline Knowlton is an MFA candidate in poetry at Antioch University in Los Angeles. A Pushcart nominee and the recipient of an Academy of American Poets College Prize, her poetry has appeared in numerous journals such as Ghost City Review and Piedmont Journal of Poetry and Fiction. She is Professor of French and French Program Director at Agnes Scott College, and holds MA and PhD degrees in French literature from UNC-CH. She earned her BA in English and French at Duke. You may read more of her work at www.juliacarolineknowlton.agnesscott.org. Her chapbook, La Vie en Rose, will be published by Alice Greene & Co. in the fall of 2018.