National Poetry Month

It is National Poetry Month – for the occasion, I wrote this poem. It isn’t very good – it doesn’t even rhyme. But it’s mine.


I once lived in Paris

In an apartment with four other girls and four thousand cockroaches

My mother sent me letters about getting married

And books about getting married

And – in her tiny, precise script – advice about getting married

Advice hard come by; decades of marriage and few flowers behind her


She sent me articles about things that would kill me:

Date rape drugs

And certain vegetables

And taking strangers’ suitcases across borders

And unpasteurized cheese, of which I ate beaucoup with butter and baguette

Fears saved up from a lifetime of hurt, only occasionally dulled by her beloved Old-Fashioneds


I was dating, if you could call it that

And studying French poetry and such

At the Sorbonne

I read about roses and profiting from my youth

Allons voir si la rose and cueilliez vostre Jeunesse

A sort of French, Gather ye rosebuds while ye may


Until a man who looked like the lead singer from A-ha

Fell in love with me and bought me roses

We saw ‘Goodfellas’ together

I laughed at the lowlifes

He was horrified by my laughter

He loved me so much I was sure I would shrivel up and fall


I sometimes look at his Facebook page

Half dreading I will see

“I’m so glad that girl wouldn’t marry me”

But I never do

I just see his big, splashy paintings, violet and red streaks like petals

And still the lead singer from A-ha, crinkle-eyed and bearded now


I became a journalist and wrote articles

about a German Shepherd who raised tiny baby kittens as her own

and about women over 40 getting pregnant at the sperm bank

gathering their rosebuds in a panic

which is something a friend of mine did and something I never contemplated

As I am old-fashioned