Rue des Deux Ponts


From one end of Rue des Deux Ponts,

this is the view: the Eiffel Tower,
on the hour, doing its silver lamé shimmy.
In the distance, for five minutes, this shrug
against the winter dark. Then we’re back to molten
honeycomb: trysts & tourist parties; picnics on cold stone.

One day in Rue des Deux Ponts, Ile St-Louis,
there’s a patisserie. Heaven in the mouth:
mille feuilles; opéra; everything chocolat.
Next day, desire on the tongue — nothing left.
A black gap, violent as a tooth extracted.
Is it arson? An explosion in the oven? A bomb?

The workmen won’t talk. Between the knife shop
and hole-in-the-wall for ice cream, they start again
from emptiness. It’s common as history here.
Cafes, restaurants, little shops … winter guts them,
then remakes them with a new-old face.
In a certain light, even the Eiffel Tower is just rusty lace.

From this distance, from this street of two bridges,
the mending’s simple: electricity in the night,
an insouciant sparkle against Time.
Before green buds begin on spiked trees, the sky
shrugs down stars. Every hour, on the hour,
a rusty old tower dances, diamantéd, in the dark.

‘Rue des Deux Ponts’ was published in The Canberra Times, 24th June, 2017.

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