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The Keys of Paris

Michael Gessner


The lovers write their names on locks

then fasten them to the black chain-link fence

on both sides of the Pont des Arts,

that wooden footbridge over the Seine.


There are rows & rows of lovers’ locks,

the chromium latches glint in the sun,

& the lovers, in a grand gesture of fidelity,

toss their keys into the river, & depart.


The keys lay on the bottom, sometimes turning

in the wreathes of the current, or they may remain

still for years, or they may roll,

crossing over one another.





Poems of Michael Gessner have appeared in Amaranth Review, American Literary Review, Chiron Review, The Journal of the American Medical Association, Nimrod, Oxford Magazine, Pacific Review, Patterson Literary Review, Sycamore Review, Wisconsin Review, and others.  Poems that appeared in his fourth title, Beast Book, (Blazevox, 2010) have been described as "lively and smart and musical," (Robert Pinsky.) 

A perfectly healthy sentence, it is true, is extremely rare. For the most part we miss the hue and fragrance of the thought; as if we could be satisfied with the dews of the morning or evening without their colors, or the heavens without their azure. - Henry David Thoreau


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