I sit here on a bench today to eat my lunch,
breathing life into the cobblestoned paths.
I’m told the greenery draws the living,
luring them in for just an hour or two
to walk among the tombs.
Red and yellow flowers pop against gray stones,
some touched with green moss. I’ve been here
three times already. I can’t keep the words
of the artist out of my head: unconcerned but not indifferent,
a phrase to capture the feeling of dying.
No ivy snakes across his grave. Smooth as slate,
the only marks are the words, begging
me to erase twenty years worth of worrying.
Twenty years of wondering
when my breath will grow ragged.
And now I’ve traveled the Atlantic,
added hours to a day
without fearing losing them,
walked the rows of tombstones alone with no end
in mind, no plan for a day’s worth of walking
but for moving forward, going on; living.
How can I cling to fear
—now that I have seen Paris?
Lived and breathed and lost six hours
and not been afraid of