Paris, 4 a.m.
I drag around this sadness with me
through the streets of Paris,
on a Saturday, in June,
at 4 a.m.
It is a dead horse on a chain.
It lay next to me on the airplane, in the isle,
as I crossed over the Atlantic
with my troupe of human buoys.
It stood by me as I set plans for this escape
like some medieval general’s campaign:
marking up maps,
reading reports from behind distant seas.
All in pursuit of hole-in-walls
with most indelible pét-nats
to help make gains on getting back
my formerly bright eyes.
I walk around the streets of Paris,
not just with my constant cargo,
but also with a human man.
There’s an obnoxious magic to what is at hand:
the spontaneity of our meeting,
one night only,
friends of friends
and millions and millions to one.
We make a soaking pact to tell the truth all night,
and on the back of that I ask for three things
that I shouldn’t know.
They’re loneliness, he says, and uselessness, and doubt.
I nod under an unremarkable cathedral,
a centrepiece of any other town.
He looks and says you’re beautiful.
I answer: Thanks. That isn’t how I feel.
He asks me next what do you fear,
hoping, no doubt,
to hear something like
I answer jingling the chain,
repeating things that people tell me about it:
take care, and watch the beast transform
from its enormous flesh into a priestly presence,
a hummingbirdlike fairy
tethered by a single silken thread,
with empathy and wisdom guarding
from hyenas of my own creation.
I fear the most, I say to him,
that this will never come to be.
In fact, I say,
I’m kind of sure of it.