to the cowards:
You may arrest the lives of innocents
by interrupting concerts with a symphony of bullets
or detonating airplanes six miles high with a piercing bomb
Strike fear into hearts with the double bass kick of
Suicide car bombs and ball bearing vests
Flâneurs will amble along the brown Seine,
past the Chinese delis in Belleville,
past the hippodrome of Bois de Boulogne.
Idle chatter and the clink of wine glasses will reverberate
in the cafes of St. Germain des Pres,
the bistrots of Le Marais,
and brasseries of Place de la Republique.
Trains will depart from Gares de l’Est, Lyon, Montparnasse, Austerlitz,
Saint-Lazare, and Nord.
They will mostly be on time.
Morning joggers will stride through Parc de la Villette,
alongside Canal Saint-Martin,
darting past lolling tourists, old men playing petanque, students clustered
in groups with beer and cheese and bread spread out like nesting dolls.
The tourists will picnic on the grass beneath Tour Eiffel,
and take selfies in front of the Louvre,
and queue in the rain at the Musee d’Orsay,
and buy crepes from the stands along the Champs Elysee.
Pockets will still be there to be picked and feigning mute girls will solicit
donations for their faux charity scams.
Still lovers will kiss on the steps of Montmartre,
in the back of McDonalds at 2 AM, in sweaty bucking Metro cars,
in midnight discotheques where tongues and bodies pulse with dark élan,
in the markets overflowing with courgettes and oranges, in passionate
silent alleyways and frenzied wide boulevards.
Muslims will hear the cry of the muezzin at dawn each day,
and Jews will walk on Friday night to Synagogue,
and Christians will heed the tolling of bells on Sunday.
Atheists will laugh at this fuss over the afterlife
and live in this one.
in concert halls,
in the Metro stations,
on the quays,
in cramped apartment living rooms