Être française. Se retrouver, célébrer, s’aimer.
Et ne jamais renouncer.

Be French. Gather, celebrate, love. And never give up.
— Romain Bardet

Away from the memorial, pigeons glide to shade | The heat accumulates, rooms form white quiet blocks of chill, which gestures animate | there is a near-stillness of respiring plants | an unfinished glass of water, a tall cool column of solid clarity, the cat | warps through as it measures its connoisseur’s steps across the absence | only this very moment | created

On the day our daughter was born | I felt there could be no end to birth | and there she was — I thought: “Little immigrant” | soles too small for footsteps, so new | the first snow would not catch them | Wrapped the winters up to parcelled years | how time flies | the primitive thirsts fed from thaws, and the glaciers’ gifts of sipping | their reduction, reviving | She finds a way | of not coming home | by looking up, beyond even | alpine heights | where the fireworks drop asphodels and gerberas | into the parting earth | she has her style, a modern take | on Yves Saint Laurent’s “Le smoking” | She will always draw glances and affection | and in her open-minded elegance | attract processions, inspire spectacle | Once free, no one will recapture her, not even with love | Photos | map freckles in the sun, and a pale strip | where she wore the bandana with strawberries | around her forehead | so, from our apartment | a shadow of clapping sounds | the clearest refinement of an echo | will remind us for a while | of the full heat of summer | And so the service starts | the ad hoc | ceremonies we mount to numb the vivid | pain of staying | But then the disguise comes loose | In time, we hear | laughter among the graves | and the dead | throw off our hypocrisy | insisting we remain as they are: unfinished


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)
(this poem, August 2016)