Your Tour de France
The tour ends for most, but for some, is just beginning.
Wheel spokes—that never ending cycle.
It should start and end in Paris.
Here students discover romance; it shocks the senses.
Start in remote arrondissements and spiral in.
Begin with college friends. Continue with a lover–then a wife.
Return with your original family before it’s too late.
Inch your way among tourists to The Eiffel Tower.
Have someone take a photo of you smiling in front.
Follow your father on a stroll along the Champs-Elysees, until he stiffens with the first layer of a Napoleonic Parkinsonian death mask.
Admire pastries in a patisserie window with your mother at sunrise.
Walk with her everywhere—until she loses her breath on a final steep ascent from the metro, cancer cells more numerous than arrogant commuters; rattling her bones, crowding her lungs.
Chew a baguette. Squint at color and light glancing off a cathedral.
Slurp onion soup with melted Gruyere, chase the peloton down with house Burgundy.
Or wait a bit longer on a cooler, muted Parisian day.
Scrape memories from damp sidewalks and glean from the past; from the earth– like Millet.
It may be best to visit museums by yourself.
Reflect on the glass of I.M. Pei’s Pyramid before descending into the bowel of The Louvre and find your own sacred room; let years roll past.
Spend the entire time wailing at the death of Brutus’ sons.
Until your own young son runs over the Pont Neuf–Rose Window of Notre Dame gleaming from a stray focused ray of laughing light.
Watch him cross paths with the Normandy wind, weighted with texture, with the great love of his grandmother. Somehow, they just missed meeting.
Do you tell him he was in his mother’s womb during her funeral?
Blink an eye until he’s grown, old enough to rent a flat on Rue des Martyrs, hear about his commute to the Curie Institute.
Ask if he studied DNA of the tumor that killed grandma.
The one he never met.
© Richie Smith
© Richie Smith