Helen Mitsios, WONDERLUST’s Art+Style editor, is a poet whose most recent collection is The Grand Tour.
While I was walking in the Marais, Paris’s oldest district, I admired the stone faces above doorways, the mascarons meant to ward off evil spirits. Sometimes they seemed to be smiling beneath their scary faces, and I felt they could almost read my thoughts, having overheard conversations and watched pedestrians walk past them for a few hundred years or so. This is a poem about being in love in Paris.
Not even the sky turns black in Paris
where we walk winding streets
of the Marais, where mascaron faces
smiling in stone look down at us,
like we should know better.
Here in Paris we pretend
desire comes in pastel shades—
a Fragonard painting in an ormolu
frame. Yearning fills me stupidly
with gluttonous cupids astray
in fat clouds, fills me like a necklace
of foiled diamonds in a Maupassant story.
I should know better than to want
a different life, or love anything more
in this world than you or clouds.