Farewell to Paris

Mardelle Fortier


Say good-bye.

The arched bridges will always be there.


Across a branch of the Seine

on Ile St-Louis

those narrow streets will remain

and old, tall beautiful homes.


In the bookstalls along curving quays

we found long-lost books

and rescued them.

In open-air cafés we could drink

wine (Sancerre) and munch oysters;

view the river as Sisley painted it:

lovely barges, bustling tugs,

great elms on stone banks,

plane trees and poplars, pushing

back any loneliness.


Afternoon light, writing stories

in a favorite sidewalk café, while drinking

a café crème. Knowing time

would stretch out and let you

get everything done that you needed

to do in your life. So much

we learned by watching

the long-flowing Seine.


Saying goodbye to a city is harder

than whispering adieu to a lover.