The Smell of French Books

The smell of French books is particular. It is the bloom
of favorite shoes and pillows plump
with nursing, bells
of etched glass and cream yellowing in the belly of a spoon.

The smell of French books is one candle and three cold
canvases in a crumbling room in Picardy and meadows
beyond the rusting
crucifix, pinking with puberty and wooing the mooing cows.

There is a Livre de Poche beside the bed. I refresh myself
with Pierre Bonnard’s busy virgin in her emerald bath,
then struggle through four more pages.
Little accents fly off like perfumed arrows. From dialogue
I guess the plot and meaning of the story--
as I do in life.

I remember so little grammar, my ceremony of French books
will never change.
It is the lick, lick, lick of a chocolate clock, and I am asleep
before the chiming.

The Smell of French Books [#8]
© 2000 Fammerée

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Richard Fammerée

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“The Smell of French Books ” appears in Lessons of Water & Thirst,
a book of poems by Richard Fammerée.

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To experience a performance of The Smell of French Books
please visit:
and listen to selections #8.

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