Notre Dame

We had only one day in Paris,
pilgrim-starved and threadbare, broke
we’d walked to the tomb of a saint,
from the mountains to the coast
 
and this was our reward: crêpes
at midnight, eaten on the street, not time
to see it all, though we tried, and one
of the ways was this: to skip the line
 
at the cathedral and instead feed the pigeons outside.
A man in sunglasses showed us how
to hold a pinch of bread just so
they’d alight on our shoulders and hands.
 
Fat, friendly birds who cooed,
whose wingtips brushed my chin—
not once have I regretted it. Now
the church has burned and fallen in.
 
We seldom know when we lose
nor how much; my chance is gone. Now
I’ll always wonder if there were angels in the rafters
and if those angels burned.

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