Quand on n’a que l’amour

A new poem by Paula Bohince 

Photo Credit:  Sippanont Samcha i, Courtesy of Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Sippanont Samchai, Courtesy of Creative Commons

Doesn’t the yellowjacket
in its bearish, brutish body
sing inside the rose?

Inside the Tuileries, within Paris
herself, crooning to
the velvetest petals,

its fur damp with sun-
warmed perfume?  Emerging
as a man does—dazed,

scented, changed—from
the apartment of a woman?
Dragging loose legs

down each rue and over
every bridge, his body brimmed
and singing,

voyage, amour, toujours,
troubadour, the city a flower
unfolding before him.

And the one on his jacket,
that boutonnière?  What word
for the way a man bends,

secretly, to its fragrance
and mystery, in love, with love,
when he has only love?              

PAULA BOHINCE's latest book is Swallows and Waves (2016). Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of BooksPoetryThe TLS, and elsewhere.

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