Parisian embarrassments: Gare du Nord

Gare du Nord: we’re leaving town

weighed down with far too much

and as I struggle on the stairs (the escalator’s out)

a hand relieves me of the biggest case

the one that holds the lead shot and

the baby rhino’s corpse and then before

I’m sure if I am being mugged or helped

he, half my age, is at the top,

putting the case down,

smiling, notably untaxed,

not even slightly out of breath

I mutter thanks not altogether graciously

De rien he says without a hint of what he really thinks

Sweet jesus let me die a thousand thousand

painful deaths before I grow that weak and old


It isn’t helpful that the case is candy-pink