On the Way to Le Marais
Kelsey Ann Kerr
I wanted the man playing the concertina
on the Paris Métro to be my father,
his saunter to be, instead, my father’s plod,
each step making the floor’s linoleum speak,
his smell to be Old Spice and longing,
instead of caked sweat, aluminum and euros.
I wanted his fingers to be thick as carrots,
to bring me health and brighten my vision,
as they pushed the accordion in and out,
punched each of the thirty keys.
I wanted the hairs on his arm to be soft and blond,
constantly fluffed to attention, arced
into a smile. When he stepped off the train,
turning to wink, I saw a glint of my father’s eyes,
saw the rocking chair in our sunroom filled
with sky and diamonds, not the dusted navy
upholstery that covered the metro chairs,
or the blurred red stripes of the man’s shirt
as we barreled away with momentum,
and he stood still, still playing.