French Movies 

In memory of Patrick Dewaere 

A roasted chicken placed on a white cloth.
In the movie it is still sitting there.
You forget to eat it. We go outside to find
glass bottles smashed behind our cars. 

In some men, the future is written 
with a clear-nibbed pen.
He strides out of here,
heading into the future. 

You were a page of mist,
hovering. Your voice said
other people’s words,
erased its own. 

How they explained it:
He was fragile,
couldn’t face reality. 

One tear
in the train station at Biarritz—
even today all our ages
stand still in your face.
It is impossible to blink. 

I wish I could have held on
to your coat-tails.
I wish we could have stood
with the other half-sure ones
near the lighthouse in the tourist town
listening to stories of wave and cloud,
night and sand, the way
no script written there survives,
and who worries about it?
Then when they stood in line to say
this world was not enough, perhaps
you would not be among them.
Knowing that story already,
you could have a different one.
The French critic reminds us
the French like their movies ambiguous.  

Here in a country of real estate and sun,
you visit only briefly.
Materialize on the white screen,
then whisk away.
The eyes you leave us, pale shoulders, 
slightly balding spot on the back of the skull,
are small maps to a country which no longer exists.
I wish your coat-tails had been longer.
If we are not fragile, we don’t deserve the world. 

Image result for naomi shihab nyeNye has won many awards and fellowships, among them four Pushcart Prizes, the Jane Addams Children’s Book award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, and many notable book and best book citations from the American Library Association.