144. The Paris Dirt

mai, France 1994
for maman

The Paris Dirt
        and
     Cuban cigarillos
        arrived
in the yellow postal
        box
from France
        marked for douane
        "Parfum".

(It all depends
     on what
        you
consider
            aroma.)

Pinkish, chalky
     dirt from
under the Tour
     Eiffel
taken in an almost
     midnight sun.
To be spread
     like the
            ashes of
     memory on her grave.

Planted like seed
to sow more
France-et-Maine
piled on
     generation
     after
     generation
in payment
for
her
Jean Patou
Vogue Paris Original
haute couture
     she
sewed for me.

I haul Paris
     home, graveside
to her
so she can say:
"I never went to Paris,
but that never stopped
it
     from
            coming to me."

Rhea Côté Robbins

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