Fearing Paris

By Marsha Truman Cooper

Suppose that what you fear 
could be trapped 
and held in Paris. 
Then you would have 
the courage to go 
everywhere in the world. 
All the directions of the compass 
open to you, 
except the degrees east or west 
of true north 
that lead to Paris. 
Still, you wouldn't dare 
put your toes smack dab on the city limit line. 
You're not really willing to stand on a mountainside miles away, 
and watch the Paris lights 
come up at night. 
Just to be on the safe side, 
you decide to stay completely out of France. 
But then danger
seems too close 
even to those boundaries, 
and you feel the timid part of you 
covering the whole globe again. 
You need the kind of friend 
who learns your secret and says, 
"See Paris first." 


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