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Ruddy-cheeked, spine like steel, she sits in the shadow
Of Our Lady resolute as the gargoyles. Cold as stone,
Clutching her cup, I watch as she waves it fruitlessly,
Swallowed by the crowd. They are as she used to be -
Roaming, shifting, moving, free...
Passing the gypsy without a glance, pondering the Seine
Or their veal dinner, or Cezanne.
I press a note into her palm, she nods "merci madame"
With unseeing eyes. I wonder where she will sleep tonight,
But soon the thought dissolves.
Later, as I plump pillows on my four-star bed
I think about the gypsy and her deadened eyes,
The irony of sanctuary, and the crepes from the bistro nearby
With its errant chair in the road...
I saw Sacre Coeur next day.