Boulevard du Montparnasse

Once, in a doorway in Paris, I saw
the most beautiful couple in the world
She would have been sixteen,
perhaps; he twenty
Their skin was the same shade of black:
Like a shiny Steinway
And they stood there like the four-legged instrument
of a passion so grand one could barely imagine them
ever working, or eating, or reading a magazine
Even they could hardly believe it
Her hands gripped his belt loops
as they found each other's eyes
because beauty like this must be held onto
could easily run away on the power
of his long, lean thighs; or the tiny feet of her laughter
I thought: now I will write a poem,
set in the doorway on the Boulevard du Montparnasse,
in which the brutishness of time
rates only a mention; I will say simply
that if either one should ever love another,
a greater beauty shall not be the cause.

Mary Jo Salter (1994)

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