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Guernsey Literary Festival

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Guernsey Arts

Jane Wilkinson, UK

2nd prize: Open Poetry
Poems on the Move & Poems on the Buses Exhibitions

Mime me a café at the Marché aux Fleurs. You point out
twin tables like two empty plates. I shuffle round to face

the street. You’ll pretend to strike a match, light me up.
I’ll smoke my contraband Gitane with a pout. You order

two small glasses of mahogany Cognac We see a boy
coming home from l’école primaire, immense satchel

on his back, por quoi, you say a boy needs his parachute.
I unfold a map of the invisible city with the wide arms

reserved for bed linen, iron out the creases with the heat
of my hands. The best time to visit Paris is in unfinished

darkness October or November, when street lights double
in the Seine at five pm. But here in the bath-water

weather of late July, first a crushed-raspberry kiss then
a summer rain storm. We drench in its hissing medicine.