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Rue Lepic

by Pearl Stein Selinsky

 

Beyond the cram of shops along
the Rue Lepic--purveyors selling
purpled artichokes, tomatoes, red
past thoughts of red, and oranges
like emissaries of Spain's sunny soil--
.
charcuteries
displaying peeled calves-heads which,
eye-empty, guard patÚs: campagne,
porc, foie gras, and rosy slabs of beef

to boulangeries
where we bought baguettes
for breakfasts of sweet France
spread with apricot

turn left along Lepic
and crescent-round to where pale
stone apartments course the rise
to reach Montmartre's bluff and
there we stood,
dumbed by reverence, staring at
a building with blue shutters and
a plaque to tell that once, Vincent
Van Gogh lived here.

Across the street, ruddy-faced and
scarcely middle-aged, a man also
aimed his camera. We spoke and
learned he was a great-great
many greats
grandson of Theo,
that loving brother who breathed
just six months more before he
followed Vincent--first to the
madhouse,
then the grave.

Down Rue Lepic again, and
wondering as we go, which fruits
and vegetables, what delights, which
morning breads and jams, and on
which concrete blocks or bed of nails
did those two brothers walk?

(Rue Lepic originally appeared in The Prairie Star, Volume 2.)


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