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Lenny Lianne




He said he’d always remember

my eyes, that glint of gold

within their loam brown irises.


He whispered this as his fingers

slid, unhurried, up the nape

of my neck and around to my lips,


as if each whorl of his fingertips

were meant to memorize every

portion of my skin, its softness


and its solidity.  Leaning in to me,

he took in one extended breath

and sighed how here were bouquets


redolent of eden’s sweetness.

(In anticipation of being with him,

I’d dabbed mere drops of Shalimar,


my current favorite perfume,

below my ears and on the back

of the wrists, near my pulse.)


Named after a fragrant garden

in Lahore where Shah Jahan

wooed his Mumtaz Mahal,


Shalimar, Sanskrit for “temple

of love,” is cool citris, iris, rose,

jasmine and warm vanilla, all


aromas from that charming garden

favored by the woman in whose

memory the Taj Mahal was made.


And isn’t that why I’d dappled

my skin with this complex scent?

Not solely to hold his attention now


but to enshrine it within him,

accessible long after he’s slept,

long after he’s dreamt of my eyes.



Each sips a glass of the crisp Sancerre

we bought in a shop around the corner:

we’re relaxing in our fifth-floor hotel room.


I’m looking out over the rooftops

while you expound on how below

this part of Paris there’s a maze


of limestone tunnels, archaic quarries,

sewers, vast catacombs, Roman roads,

and even a hidden river, the Bièvre,


- long polluted by paper mills, tanneries

and the dye-makers for Gobelin tapestry

factories, and now cemented over.


One of your enigmatic smiles slips

across your face as you say to me

in passing that each of us, even cities,


keeps its secrets.  Now freshly perceptible,

an almost half moon casts shadows

as the dark smudge of night begins


to hover over the slanting rooftops.

The starlings and other birds

have flown to wherever they go,


unleashing a deceptive stillness

like a pause on the verge of something

full of little doubts yet to be named.



            No, I regret nothing

            signature song of Edith Piaf



Let Edith Piaf sing in the dark

corners of your heart, a torch


illuminating only the whispered

promises, long unfulfilled.


Let the gloss of your sorrows,

like a dozen of displaced bees,


articulate the lengthy half-life

of bafflement and anger.


And the myths on your tongue,

the memory of the unanswerable,


or unasked, questions – your quiver

of shrill arrows – let them fall


on the tone-deaf.  Like you, time

and again, they aren’t moved


by strains of impassioned melodies

– the canticle of two tangled bodies


late into night or the bel canto

of a woman who no longer waits.



Lenny Lianne is the author of four books of poetry, most recently The ABCs of Memory (ScriptWorks Press).  She holds a MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry)  from George Mason University. She’s a world traveler who calls Peoria, Arizona home.

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