My Father, In Paris

Photo by Jorik Kleen on Unsplash

My father
In Paris
Swinging suitcases to the curb
Washing his hands of airline travel
Disbelieving
Achieving
Gazing east on the Rue Duvivier
Placing handkerchief inside his pocket
Ascending
Pulling back the curtains
Examining footprints
Arranging chairs with tired hands
His voice authoritative like a ferry
Spreading maps like playing cards
Dividing cities into quadrants
My mother examining porcelain on the dresser drawer
Considering
My father, unpacking on the bed
Reconsidering
Arranging shoes in hills among the bedroom
Eyeing her upon the billowed sheets
Resting
Her crossword pen rolled outward on the mattress
Her arms spread open as golden, eagle wings
Awaking
Reaching for a glass of water
Showing the route of St. Germaine
His music calling
Her face flat against the wilted pillows
Pointing toward the kitchen stove
The winding clock against the painted wall
Her dark hair blackened by evening clouds
Moving gently
Opening softly
The stove igniting
Turning away
The window singing organ songs outside the balcony at dusk

Listening
My father, awaking
Yawning
Stretching to the furthest star
Rising in the semi-darkness
Pirouetting at first light in sneakers on linoleum
Exiting
A bull through barnyard fence
Greeting neighbors on the spiral staircase
His eyes focused in solidarity
The old woman smiling in simple charity
Her baguette inside the canvas
Shoulder bag the color of shoes
He greets her
In her language
Departing
Entering the square
Buying apples with one hand
A French newspaper in the other
Exploring
Calling into question the price of baked goods
Reaching for change between his handkerchief
A gentleman drinking coffee, enjoying
A different kind of transformation
The table rocks
Apologizing
The man waving him on in forgiveness
Understanding
Crossing the square to the sidewalk
Dodging sunlight
Heaving
Perspiring
Welcoming back the splintered shade
Cinching his pack about his shoulders
Preparing the final ascent of August
The endless journey of one summer to another
Recognizing the woman from the stairs
Her hair undone as men pass by on bicycles

My father, confused
Motioning
Blue eyes searching
Offering
In his own language
Fingers taking shape of latch keys
A piece of bread still sweet and glistening
Her eyes dancing
Romancing
Bright and raised
Paving the way for an ancient smile
Her sun-soaked cheeks
Waving him off to tie a shoelace
Shooing him away
Her friends arriving with idle engine
Decoded
She hops inside the Volkswagon
Betraying
With motorization
The ageless, perfunctory nature of France

My mother
Watching from the third story
Wrapped in a bed sheet, smiling
Her lips against a coffee cup
Staining
Washing away river upon river upon river within the Seine

My father
In Paris
Taking the elevator for the stairs
His arm pulling open the medieval door
The inner door transforming
Bursting into dozens of diamond sunbursts
Locking
Telling himself
It’s torture, this device, if not for opening

My mother, turning
Hoping
Opening the door without withholding
Laughing with outstretched fingers
Enveloping
At the doorway
All the fibers of her robe
Beginning to ascend
Setting down the empty cup
Forgetting and remembering

The Junction

The Junction is the premier intersection of fiction, poetry & humor on Medium.

Stephen E. Phillips

Written by

Black coffee and late night flights. 📧: thesensitivedude@gmail.com. Buy me ☕️: https://ko-fi.com/stephenphillips

The Junction

The Junction is a digital crossroads devoted to stories, culture, and ideas. Our interests are legion.

Stephen E. Phillips

Written by

Black coffee and late night flights. 📧: thesensitivedude@gmail.com. Buy me ☕️: https://ko-fi.com/stephenphillips

The Junction

The Junction is a digital crossroads devoted to stories, culture, and ideas. Our interests are legion.

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