- Cours Cabronne, Nantes
In the downpour, a girl was burying a small box. Inside,
a hamster, dead and wrapped in cotton. Or
letters from a boy. She gripped cardboard between her palms.
Her palms were not hers at all,
- Notre-Dame de la Garde, Marseille
Like most women, I too once twisted my body to hold
any semblance of light. Metallic eye shadow.
Shirts exposing pale underbelly. Once I believed beauty
a river I had crossed and would not return to.
Now I am planting my younger selves in this country.
They all wear the same dress and weep in the blue
light of a gold basilica. They see my sister’s lankiness
in the cat pouncing homeless over dust particles.
They hear my mother’s voice in the bells. Ask me to carry them.
- Quartier Saint-Germain, Paris
Tonight I cover the moon with the palm of a man
I will never come to know. Let him hide the silver
shards that rest on our skulls. We stare down the river
until it turns noiseless. Let water submerge Paris.
Park benches float along the Seine. Empty wine bottles.
The only sound is boat hull against river rock. Or: bone
- La Loire, Nantes
Suppose that when they finish burying me, whatever I have left unsaid
of how deer move through decaying forests will emerge
as murky reeds on the mud banks. Shallow fronds untethered.
Caught in a current, yanked elsewhere. Pluck the reeds.
Arrange them in the grass. Put your ear to the ground
and wait for my voice.
Kat Neis is a poet and writer from Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is the co-founder of Siblíní Journal, a magazine for young luminaries. She lives in Chicago.