Paris through the Window
Our window, this colourful life we share. Surprising. Or is middle age always surprising? It feels swampy, landlocked with a view in every direction but no opening. That’s why it’s so important we have this one view, our view, our recent history or now, you would say, because we’re trying to keep our heads here by the window of today, whatever the view. We’re trying to stay in this up and down dimension, the depth of the present, learning the point of things that has nothing to do with a horizontal story of me or you.
I dreamed last night that you’d lost an arm and I still loved you, loved you so much, and so I learned that I could forgive myself too for weakness, doubt, and complication. You were me and I you because I also needed to see that you would still love me too. Should I wish you had said it, that I wouldn’t have had to see it for myself? Words matter more to me than to you. What are words to a heart in the hand, a tractor-beam animal loyalty?
You’ve been part feline to me for a while, affectionate, at home, but still wild in the eyes, slightly acrobatic around the house, occasionally ironic in movement, rarely very serious, light and many-lived without looking it—resilient.
My face is cold, classical, Helenic. Yours is gentle and un-cold even though it’s blue. How do you do that? This is the kind of question you see in me. I think about things with serious black eyes. You drop flowers from your lips. But there’s also this light yellow glow in me I’ve just begun to see reflected in the Paris windows and parachuters sending me thank-you notes.
We often stand and look out the window. I thought it was for the view, but it’s for this image of us, the waking dream we create to see what we need to know.
Elizabeth Paul’s chapbook Reading Girl is a collection of ekphrastic prose poems based on paintings by Henri Matisse. Other work has appeared in Cider Press Review, Unbroken Journal, Duende, and elsewhere. Liz served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kyrgyzstan and currently teaches at George Mason University. Find her at elizabethsgpaul.com.
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