Shadows of Paris
History of a Table
The bar where Henry Miller drank
tenders a thin table beneath a mirrored wall
scoping author’s portraits and patrons who filter
into booths and pout with espresso mouths.
I am only apprenticing Paris. We’ve scrapbooked
ourselves here to dip into the ink of artists like us
who came to loot and ransack the city, to hunt
amid gray, cobbled streets, take the surly and brooding
pelt of phenomenon and deposit a littered alphabet
of new and debaucherous talismans. My pen
trembles, and I ache to write myself into a version
of original sin, revel in the profanity of life,
and spit into my inkwell. Beneath Hemingway
my new husband scribbles in his moleskin.
I fix my eyes toward the ring on his hand.
By the time my cocktail abandons me
I have taken custody of the deserted chronicles
left long ago on tap handles and between floorboards.
My husband closes his book; we leave on the table
a handprint of coins and a pocket of space.
The apprenticeship ends with the looted winter air
sweeping us into the amulet of the Paris night.