Paris Nocturne by Pamela Davis

Paris Nocturne

 

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.
                                                                                        One a.m.
                                                                                                         Two.
Why do I wait, eyes fixed above, a stranger’s misery soon to begin.


Pamela Davis
Pamela Davis is the author of Lunette (2015), winner of the ABZ Poetry Prize. A California native, her poems appear in Prairie Schooner, New Ohio Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Folio, Southern Humanities Review, Natural Bridge, Cimarron Review, Stand (UK), Existere (Canada) and elsewhere. She is currently working on her second poetry collection.

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