Today's poem is by Steve Orlen

Song: The Kiss

We were walking through
            A department store in Paris,
Escaping the rain,
            The sort of French rain
That changes in intensity
            If you look at it,
Then changes back if you don't.
            You went to lingerie,
And I to electronics,
            And then we met again. It was there
That you noticed them, in furnishings,
            Relaxing on a couch, his arm
Draped around her shoulder.
            She pecked him on the cheek.
He didn't seem to notice.
            Practicing for marriage,
You said, a bit too wryly
            I thought, then stared at them
With You. He was pompadoured,
            Italian, rough and beautiful,
With muscles so prominent
            They seemed to be tattooed,
And you must have felt a twinge
            Moving up your throat
To your face, for it settled
            Into a smile, half adoration,
Half resignation. And she, Italianate,
            Shapely as that ivory statue
Pygmalian called "my virgin beauty,"
            With hair so long and black
I could almost see myself
            Reflected in it, and behind me
You watching me watching
            Her small breasts move
Beneath her black t-shirt.
            Then on we went, you to where
The silk scarves were,
            All the rage that year,
And I to toys to see
            What passed for toys those days,
And then we met again,
            By the escalator, and out
The revolving doors we went,
            Hand in hand, for this was Paris,
Where even the middle-aged
            Will behave like young lovers
In the rain, waiting for bad weather
            To bring them to their youth again.
And there they were, standing
            In the rain that hadn't changed
For an hour. They were kissing,
            Their tongues wrestling
In that eternal battle
            No one wins or loses.
His hand was on her breast,
            Cupping it; her hand on top of his,
As if to keep it there forever
            Were a commitment they'd just now taken on.
And you said, laughing,
            If you let me kiss him
I'll let you kiss her!

            Then we set out again,
Hand in hand, thirty years married,
            Across the busy Seine,
And then I was the one laughing,
            And you, I thought for a moment
You were crying,
            But it was only the rain in Paris,
Relentless and unchanging.

Copyright © 2001 Steve Orlen All rights reserved
from This Particular Eternity
Ausable Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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