You had made your presence known

by then- abstracted

into two positive pink lines

like the Rothko your father and I will see

two years later at the MoMA

For now, we ride the two vertical tracks

Eurostar; a world tucked inside an ocean


The sharp Parisian chicness is dulled

by the October grey and rusting trees

that line the boulevards, the faint tang

of bile that rises at the smell of hot cheese

The angles of the Louvre sit at odds

with the roundness of me

and you, the world still needs to soften a bit –

although your father explained

to the maître de that I need my eggs

well cooked. He mimes a belly bump


In the early hours, I open

the shuttered windows

onto the alley beneath

our hotel, parallel lines converging

into a narrowness, where an old lady

sits on a porch. Her eyes leak

the fullness of moonlight, and she hums a quietness

which I wonder if you can hear

as slight waves – the curved undulations

premonitions of your smile


One day – daughter – when your limbs have unfurled

and you’ve outgrown mine –

we’ll travel together. Of course,

we’ll do the usual itinerary – Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumph

all those long strong structures cutting

the skyline but then we’ll find that cafe

in Place Dauphine and in that square

I’ll show you how your father

conceived your shape with his hands