Sunday, May 30, 2010

David Lehman :: Bravo!

French Movie
by David Lehman


I was in a French movie 
and had only nine hours to live 
and I knew it 
not because I planned to take my life 
or swallowed a lethal but slow-working 
potion meant for a juror 
in a mob-related murder trial, 
nor did I expect to be assassinated 
like a chemical engineer mistaken 
for someone important in Milan 
or a Jew journalist kidnapped in Pakistan; 
no, none of that; no grounds for 
suspicion, no murderous plots 
centering on me with cryptic phone 
messages and clues like a scarf or 
lipstick left in the front seat of a car; 
and yet I knew I would die 
by the end of that day 
and I knew it with a dreadful certainty, 
and when I walked in the street 
and looked in the eyes of the woman 
walking toward me I knew that 
she knew it, too, 
and though I had never seen her before, 
I knew she would spend the rest of that day 
with me, those nine hours walking, 
searching, going into a bookstore in Rome, 
smoking a Gitane, and walking, 
walking in London, taking the train 
to Oxford from Paddington or Cambridge 
from Liverpool Street and walking 
along the river and across the bridges, 
walking, talking, until my nine hours 
were up and the black-and-white movie 
ended with the single word FIN 
in big white letters on a bare black screen.


Brought to you by Poets.org Poem-a-Day: David Lehman

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