Pagan in Paris

Mikaela Lane

“Give me chastity and continence, but not yet.” —St. Augustine

Pressed against him, every open-
shirted hairy-chested inch of him
by other equally sticky sorts, I drag
into my lungs the scent of sweat
sweetened by cologne.
With the sudden slide of subway doors
he pulls out of the orgy and pushes
to the platform. I follow
him, my Paris, tunnel after tunnel.
Violinists in every passage, accompany
my pursuit with one of the Four Seasons.
The steely strum of flamenco guitar suddenly trills
and I allow my skinny-jeaned, coduroy-jacketed
victim to disappear as I stop to stare
in the direction of the Spanish
busker in all of his tan-skinned
and six-pack-showing-through-tight-shirted glory.
But this Aphrodite doesn’t settle
for monogamy and I step onto the escalator
to pass into the higher world, onto the
Champs-Élysées. And then I see
him, sitting in the window of Adurée,
an Adonis in a pin-striped suit, running
his hand through tussled curls and sucking
sexily on a cigarette.
Mesmerized and silent as a lioness stalking
her prey, I try to imagine how he would taste.
But he never glances in my direction.

I round the corner and run to Madeleine,
the junior Parthenon, and throw myself
upon her stairs and pray to Homer’s naughty
goddess to purge me of the lust she placed inside me.
But a concerned tap on my shoulder from
some fine, faux-hawked stranger and I turn back
to my Pagan ways.