Poetry Sunday: “Anniversary in Paris,” by Christine M. Gelineau

Anniversary in Paris We were never young in Paris as the lovers on le Pont de l’Archevêché are now, initialing their padlock and squeezing it into the bristle and glitter of the others. They kiss and toss the key to the Seine. Forty years into our marriage we know better than to think of love as a lock, but we wish them well. In their version of this day we are the aging couple on the park bench behind Notre Dame, part of the furniture of the world giving witness to the theater of their lives, but in our version, they are familiars of our animate past, the unfaded memory of our youth’s garden, and now the brides arrive, the extravagant froth of their dresses bunched up into their arms and spilling over into the arms of their attentive grooms, couples fused by their efforts to bear her dress up above the soil until they reach the bridge, where the trailing photographer settles them against the lock-festooned railing, with the silvered Seine and the elegant bulk of Notre Dame a frame behind them. With no camera trained on us we find ourselves nevertheless lofted as if the momentary gift of the image’s suspension in time were our own: the embrace of bride and groom on the bridge beneath the sail of the wafted bridal veil.   “Anniversary in Paris” is from Crave (NYQ Books 2016) and is reprinted here with permission of the press and the author. Christine Gelineau is the author of three full-length books of poetry, most recently Crave (NYQ Books 2016), available for order here. Other books include the book-length sequence Appetite for the Divine, published as the Editor’s Choice for the Robert McGovern Prize (Ashland Poetry Press 2010) and Remorseless Loyalty, winner of the Richard Snyder Memorial Prize (Ashland Poetry Press 2006). A recipient of the Pushcart Prize, Gelineau’s poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Prairie Schooner, The New York Times, Connecticut Review, New Letters, Green Mountains Review, Georgia Review, and others. Gelineau teaches in the low-residency Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Wilkes University and also teaches at Binghamton University, where she is Associate Director of the Creative Writing Program and coordinator of the Readers’ Series. She lives on a farm in the Susquehanna River Valley of upstate New York where she and her husband raise Morgan horses.   See and hear the author reading her poem here (video credit: Shawn Hatten). Read reviews of Crave here (Jennifer Martelli for Up the Staircase Quarterly), here (Cori Coccia for Nomadic Press), here (Grace Cavalieri for Washington Independent Review of Books) and here (Caroline LeBlanc for Poetry Matters), and an interview here.  

Poet’s Note

Devotion to place, to the land you support and that supports you, and the joy of travel are competing desires. It can take a long time to accumulate the resources to accommodate, at least in part, that competition among things you love. My husband and I managed many things in our youth, but we did not manage Paris until forty years into our marriage. The poem references our last afternoon in Paris after a splendid two weeks in France.

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