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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Poetry Contest Winner

The winning entry in our Third Annual Poetry Contest.


The last few times I was in the European Union,

it took a lot more than a dollar to equal one euro.

Didn’t matter where you went, that euro, like a Monarch,

was seated two or three steps above.

Near The Pantheon, I chose a large green apple

from a streetside cart, the peddler waggled four fingers.

I gave him his four Euro for my one apple.

I took a picture of a man lingering in the doorway

of a ristorante near Trevi. He tapped his pants pocket,

raised his hand. Skin rub of thumbpad against fingers,

then peace sign, all the while nodding his head and

shadowing me like a Pittsburgh Steeler defensive back.

“I deleted it” I called in English and turned the camera

so he could see himself draining into Europe’s smallest trash can.

An empty street café in late afternoon shadow of The Vatican

I ordered minestrone and house wine for 22 euro.

The waiter shoo-ed me by swiping at air with his towel.

“Oh no, oh no, I make no money of you!”

Then down the street from an abbey in a neighborhood

far down the Paris dance card, a French teen-ager,

simple clothes wound round small stature, held a tight bunch

of short-stemmed lilacs and a card lettered 10e.

I twirled my hand round the camera “Photo?”

She smiled oui, extended her forehead toward me.


Later I looked at her digital-self and asked

why oh why hadn’t I reached to buy her lilacs?

I can smell them even now.

Mary Barnard

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