Left Bank

Left Bank

This old street, which still dreams of being
central again one day, cannot change itself.
The new shops are always the same kinds
of shops - small places exhaling exotica,
wholly dark inside, their windows filled
with icons, bangles, guides to Zen,
and small decorated tin boxes. New cafes, too,
but all, like those that went before,
serving breakfast all day long. The people

who come down this far don’t need much
but they need to sit, sometimes for hours,
leaning into each other, the better to talk
and talk. Even those who sit alone
will sometimes smile or shake their heads,
their lips moving, now grimly, now sweetly.

Tom Duddy
(Published in The Hiding Place)