I Should Be Eating Madeleines

Aileen Bassis

Doves are cooing & fields of grapevines
should be idyllic but the smell
of manure is everywhere.  A Citroen

stops near me & a woman runs out.
She looks familiar; I almost
call out a name, but I don’t

know her, I’m in France.
Two men walk towards her,
one with shirtsleeves rolled up

to display his biceps, a cigarette
stub leaning from his lips,
reminding me of Jean-Paul Belmondo.

I’m surprised to recall the word
lèvres. I didn’t think I learned
anything in high school French.

I watch them hug, kiss, then drive off
in a rising cold wind that has
a name that I’ve forgotten. 

Bells ring out the hour & like a window
shutter blowing open, I see
young Jean Seberg in black & white,

standing on a bed while Belmondo, slouched
below her, eyes her thighs, smooth
as the marble limbs of the goddess

I saw in a museum in Provence. The statue’s leg
arched forward as if she was about to step onto
the ruined Roman boat displayed before her,

a disjunct timbered artifact, incomplete as
drifting memories that sink & rise
& wait for the unwary swimmer’s touch.


Aileen Bassis is a visual artist in Jersey City working in book arts, printmaking, photography and installation.  Her use of text in art led her to explore another creative life as a poet.  Her poems are published or forthcoming in Spillway, Grey Sparrow Journal, Canary, Amoskeag and others.

Issue 13

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