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Sunday, January 11, 2015

PARIS 1974, 2015

by Martha Deed

What has the sun said to you, my child ‒
that the world is a dangerous place
and this is a day to stay in bed?

But, No. It said
Do you see the shine of morning dew
on the cobblestone streets
and the spires of Notre Dame
kissing the clouds

The cafes bursting with coffee
and croissants in the hands of kids
on their way to school
on their way to work?

This is a day
the sun said
to take a good walk
along the quay

This is a day to look for a book
to visit the market of live birds
to hear them call
to admire their feathers
shining in the sun

the light flashing on them like sparklers
not like bullets at the newspaper
not like flash grenades
at the grocery store

This I tell you:
Because you heeded the sun,
you will live another day
your survival as accidental
as those held hostage
as those who died
at your grocery store
you did not visit
because you were taking 
a walk in the sun 

In this poem, Martha Deed has woven the close call she had in Paris in 1974 or 1975 when Millie was a baby.  They usually went to the news stand for the Sunday paper at 10:30 AM.  Regular as clockwork.  But that day, Martha simply thought to take a walk to a farther away news stand instead.  Carlos, the Jackal, had planted a bomb at her usual place, and it exploded, killing people, as Martha pushed Millie in her stroller down the Blvd Saint-Germaine.