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I’ve been to see The Mona Lisa.
Traversed the angry Atlantique.
Dealt with Frenchmen;
their lunging taxis,
their coffee dense and bitter,
their sweet condescension.
I’ve stood for an hour
in a wind-driven rain.
Descended into the
great pyramid of I.M. Pei.
Paid the fare in francs
to wander that fortress
Past the winged Victory,
the armless Venus,
Vermeer’s Astronomer.
Five hundred depictions
of the dying Jesus and
the elegant portraits of
many Frenchmen who
would sadly lose their heads.
I followed the signposts,
heard my heels
down the lengths of
those long hallowed halls.
Then, at once she was there.
Her face looking back at me
over a field of cameras
held high above the crowd.
the subtle terra incognita of her
spattered with awe
and battery light.
And I took my turn,
slithered and gaped and
uttered excuse moi and
then turned my back again,
and wandered off to
look for Olympia.