“French Movie” by David Lehman

I was in a French movie

and had only nine hours to live

and I knew it

not because I planned to take my life

or swallowed a lethal but slow-working

potion meant for a juror

in a mob-related murder trial,

nor did I expect to be assassinated

like a chemical engineer mistaken

for someone important in Milan

or a Jew journalist kidnapped in Pakistan;

no, none of that; no grounds for

suspicion, no murderous plots

centering on me with cryptic phone

messages and clues like a scarf or

lipstick left in the front seat of a car;

and yet I knew I would die

by the end of that day

and I knew it with a dreadful certainty,

and when I walked in the street

and looked in the eyes of the woman

walking toward me I knew that

she knew it, too,

and though I had never seen her before,

I knew she would spend the rest of that day

with me, those nine hours walking,

searching, going into a bookstore in Rome,

smoking a Gitane, and walking,

walking in London, taking the train

to Oxford from Paddington or Cambridge

from Liverpool Street and walking

along the river and across the bridges,

walking, talking, until my nine hours

were up and the black-and-white movie

ended with the single word FIN

in big white letters on a bare black screen.

“French Movie” appears in Yeshiva Boys (Scribner, 2009). Copyright David Lehman 2009, all rights reserved.

– See more at: http://www.motionpoems.com/?p=441#sthash.yjaCbMoA.dpuf

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1 Response to “French Movie” by David Lehman

  1. Jerome Bloom says:


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