local_library A Fat Girl in Paris

by Ray Nayler

Published in Issue No. 187 ~ December, 2012

Though the room did not answer
to the pictures on the internet
breakfast was very much
what she’d imagined:
that is – croissant and coffee,

the reading of her guidebook
in a thin white morning light.

She, alone.
A fat girl in Paris,
with museum pass,
tourist metro card,
money saved up from a year
of working nights,
of living cheap,
of eating in.

The tickets were a bargain,
in dead center January, when
skeleton trees submit
to architecture.
Sky, color of stones.
River, color of stones.
Brightness writhes
in painted souvenirs.

Wind shivering her scalp,
she sips hot wine
and lingers
on a bridge.

She drifts unremarked,
a fat girl in Paris,
unloved and free
as the skulls
in the tunnels underneath
with the shadows of the city
in their mouth.

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Ray Nayler is a diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, posted to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Over the past decade, he has lived and worked in Moscow, many of the Central Asian republics, and in Afghanistan. Ray has work upcoming in the Beloit Poetry Journal and in Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics.