Tu ne seras pas oublié.
You were not ready when you flew from earth,
snatched, like a bird in a storm.
Now I sit at your desk writing the last words in your journal.
I pour out your shampoo, sudsing my hair twice a day
until there is nothing left.
I paint my nails while emptying your imported bottles
of Le Rouge Foncé and Rose Scintillant.
Birds feast on your half-eaten bag of Cheetos I shake,
salting the wind.
I burn your cinnamon candle down to a nub,
leave on your night-light until the bulb burns out,
open to your bookmark, finishing Baudelaire’s final verses.
Then I lay my head on your pillow,
inhaling your lilac memory,
pull up the yellow cotton sheet,
and dream your last dream.
My aching heart hears you whisper
Allez à Paris.
When I land at Charles de Gaulle
every face I see is yours—
fair face dotted with freckles.
And then I see him:
the Frenchman in your dream.
He smiles at me, steps forward.
His cheeks press mine,
right and left.
I feel the rasp of his peppered beard.
But I know you want more.
Standing on tiptoe, my arms wrapped around his neck,
I look into his brown eyes, pleading
“Une fois plus pour Jacqueline?”
I hold my breath.
“Avec plaisir,” he replies.
And we kiss like old lovers,
until the taste of his lips cannot be forgotten.