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You were passionate for French.
So I took French classes, the strange sounds
sticking to my tongue’s palate.

I loved you, but I was spitting gravel
from my mouth, not French.

You read Victor Hugo in French.
You took French cooking classes,
your wine bottles as numerous as bottles of spice,

and shared cheese and wine with other
French students on Saturday.

You warmed to any talk
about the French. But over a salad
with raspberry Vinaigrette dressing

hearing me stammer French
you sighed, like any Parisian
tired of an endless parade of crêpes.

Nothing is uglier than botched French,
you might have said. You ushered
me from the your table, said

you had an early French lesson
to teach the next day. Bon soir,
I said, with a thick accent.

You disdained a reply in French.
Your door closed as you
slowly enunciated

“Good bye.”


Bob lives in a state that is drifting towards Asia. Bob is inching towards retirement. It is uncertain who will reach their destination first. Adrift, Bob reads Chinese poetry when he isn’t napping. Bob’s work can be found in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Eclectica, Pedestal Magazine and many other publications on the net.

© 2008, Bob Bradshaw

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