The Eiffel Tower rounds its beacon—platinum to black—platinum
to black—waltzes the dark across the room. Upstairs, the couple is fighting
loud and rough. A bottle shatters against a wall. I can’t make out what provokes
them—her voice rises, splinters apart. He barks. A scramble. Brute door.
Every night their danse macabre bruises the floor over my head. Day’s end,
hand on the rail, I climb five stories of thready rug to my rental,
brick-baked baguette dusting my sleeve. A man and woman on the way down
say Pardon, Pardon as I squeeze past. He grips her elbow. She quicks
her tread. At each landing, identical doors lead to unknown lives, unknown rooms
murmuring a history—shortwave radios, terrified Jews. Hushed widows
at their evening prayers. Dishes done, I bookmark Rimbaud, make for bed.
Night’s cape settles around the building’s shoulders. At the top
of each hour, Eiffel light slices through dark—Midnight.
Why do I wait, eyes fixed above, a stranger’s misery soon to begin.
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