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Where to Sit at a Reading

Sit down front
And imagine
That the words inhabit
Your mind.
You can stand
On the Rue St. Dennis
Your hotel squatting at your back,
Massive at the base
But thinner as the walls rise,
And look to your right
Down the granite cobbles
To see the Eiffel Tower
Over your right shoulder.
It is night,
And the traffic
Stands still,
The headlights
Illuminating the exhaust
And the cigarette smoke
That trails from a hand
Swinging down in frustration
To tap the grey door.
The tower glows green
Above the red tile roofs
And white plaster walls
Of the hotel and shops,
And the geraniums
Popping red and blue
From window boxes
At waist height.
Napoleon is buried
Three blocks to your left,
And dinner on the terrace
Waits two blocks straight ahead.
If you take the back seat,
You miss crepes St. Jacques,
And you will never learn
The sound of your shoes
On the same stones
Where Victor Hugo walked,
Or see the spires
Of Notre Dame
Illuminated white
Against the black
Of an evening shower,
Or shop like a Parisian
In an open stall.

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