"when the Gods want to punish you, they answer your prayers"
--line from the film "Out of Africa"
She stopped, transfixed, a breathless
butterfly pinned to a board, and she said,
"That is So beautiful!" Then, turning
to her husband as they stood in my kitchen
before an aerial photograph of L'Ile de la Cite'
shaped like a ship in the beating heart of Paris,
(young Yuppie wife of entrepreneurial architect
who owned half the houses on the street
where I lived), she asked with pleading eyes,
"Could we go someday?" Knowing the appetite
for that which lies beyond Beyond: Paris,
La Cite' Emeraude, or wherever is the personal
Shangri La, I wished I could have shared
what I've known: a second floor apartment
in an historic building in the 12th--its
circular staircase royally carpeted in red,
enclosing a tiny lift, depositing us
to a storied paradise, its rooms extending
beyond glass doors of an antechamber into
a formal salon, two stately bedrooms
with balconies, and a "bureau," birthplace
of poems, diaries of dreams, and in the interior
courtyard beneath our common windows,
open to the Paris bleu, a caged canary sang,
lusting for open sky in mornings filled
with the perfume of freshly baked pastries
and baguettes from the patisserie below.
Once, I was besotted with a man who told me
after lovemaking, "I never knew how
much yearning you needed." He divined this,
and for a time he fed that soul hunger in me, so
that it was hard when he left, and they always leave.
Ships seeking harbor, leave in their wake
a yearning in the corners of your life, which will
surely bring back Paris and everyone you have ever
loved, which will somehow, somehow, against
all odds, satiate the supplicant heart.