Paris Summer

Regardez, I say to my daughter,
Un croissant, a tree, c’est un arbre en
français, and that, that’s a soldier

with an automatic weapon.
I teach her the name in French,
Un soldat avec une mitraillette,

as if the name of a thing matters
when you carry a gun
as one would carry a long box
of roses, or a folded parasol.

Regardez, I say, One of them is a girl.
See her ponytail? And I’m not sure why

I pointed that out to her, except perhaps
to say that she, too, can be one of them
She, too, can carry the weapon.

I have not yet taught her the word “terrorism”
in English or French. I’m glad
she’s only four, so I don’t have to explain

why armed soldiers walk the streets of Paris.
Instead we laugh as the pigeons crowd
around her so thick they move like a sea

of gray and white around the island
she is already becoming.
Some land on her head, and she

gasps, delighted. She asks for more
bread. I do not tell her that
if she were made of bird seed,

they wouldn’t love her more. They
would consume her, down to her bones.



Leslie Lutz is an active member of the DFW Writers Workshop. Her poetry has appeared in Number One, The Glass Tesseract, The Lyric, and Raintown Review. She received the Quarterly Award in Poetry from The Lyric for her poem Field Notes from an Archaeologist. Three of her poems have been adapted into an anthology titled Till Death, forthcoming from Azoth Khem Press.




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