AUGUST 8, Paris:

We lean against the railing on the landing of Le Train Bleu. Below a flood of Parisians enters the Gare de Lyon to depart for the south.

Parallel quais recede in the distance. The sun filters in through the station’s glass roof.

You: Do these people know something we don’t?

Me: Nah, they’re just polite.

You: Huh?

Me: I asked them to leave so we could have Paris to ourselves.

You, smiling: Yeah, right.

You, squeezing my arm: Let’s eat.

We turn into the Le Train Bleu. Its interior an invitation to voyage.

Belle époque, carved wood, every flat surface the mural of a destination framed by golden arabesques and cherubs.

Me: Well this place is subdued.

A waiter escorts us to our table.

I lean back and stare up at the ceiling’s painting: A naked woman stands above me, a tipped cornucopia rains its fruit down next to her.

A crowd watches her from above, and I admire the expanse of her stomach, her blindfolded eyes. It’s all giving me ideas.

You, bringing a bare foot to my crotch: are you ogling that girl?

Me, returning to you: Ogling? Weird word. No I was just…taking a gander.

The Menu ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ calls, each of its three courses a verbose elaboration of elements.

Fines tranches de jambon Pata Negra, tomate grillée, compotée d’aubergines et cake au chorizo.

Filet de bar rôti contisé au citron confit, huile d’olive de Sicile compotée d’aromates au badiane.

Café is the only word I can comfortably identify.

You: Sarah Bernhardt slept in a coffin to ward off her fear of death.


After, we take the metro to the Père Lachaise cemetery, a miniature Paris for the deceased.

We walk up through the lanes. The noise of the city recedes, turns quiet.

You: So who do you want to visit?
Me: How about Jim Morrison?
You: He’s the guy from The Doors, right?
Me: Yeah, the guy from The Doors.

Me, grabbing you from behind: I’m your backdoor man.

You, pulling away: Don’t count on it.

We smell his grave before we see it. Half-evaporated beer, urine, cigarette.

Wraths loiter around its edge. The pattering of multiple languages. Pilgrims to the lizard king.

Me: Sorry. Bad choice.
You, forgiving: Yeah, let’s go find a dead hottie.

Oscar Wilde’s tomb greets us near the cemetery’s northern edge.
A long-winged angel with the face of a pharaoh levitates in flight.  Hundreds of lipstick kisses cover its base.

Me, a little in awe: I’ve never seen sex and death so close.
Me: You should add one?
You, rummaging for your lipstick: No, you should. Oscar only liked boys.
Me, turning to you: Ok, but I get to kiss you after.

You, holding my chin in place and applying: Ooh, you should wear lipstick more often.

My hands press against the tomb. My lips feel the concrete’s heat before its texture. I pucker and leave my mark.

Me, grabbing your wrist: Now it’s your turn.

I push your back against the tomb. Your eyes close preparing for the kiss. When this starts, we don’t know how to make it end.

Tourists mill around us, taking snapshots. Ignoring us? Framing us? I don’t care. I’m just utterly lost in our contact.

You, coming up breathless: Come.

You pull me by the arm, scraping my flesh. We stumble urgently through the rows between graves.

You push past the metal doors to family chapels, and draw me to the back wall of the cemetery.

I prop you up, rip at your stockings and drop to my knees to take you in my mouth.

Your clit is distended. I cradle it between my teeth, smother it with my tongue. Your hands rip at my hair.

Your thighs press against my skull, blotting out your moans of orgasm.

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