“A Love Poem for Lyon” – Jack Snyder

Yellow French lights color the city rain a lovely shade of nostalgia- I’m ready to all at once spend a day by the Saône, watching the river run idly by and to explore the intimate places of this strange new world. There’s a feeling of lying down in your bed after a long trip, a new sense of familiarity, I’m coming home to see an old friend whom I haven’t seen in years. I don’t live here, but all the locals know is that I’m a new face: belonging has no accent, and I’m told neither do I

When the clock strikes seven, the sun is barely awake and the wind in this city brushes cold against my face It’s a painting done entirely in blues and grays, but none less beautiful.

It’s seven ten now, and a strange machine comes to pick me up From it, I can see the melancholy countryside passing by like the moon and the stars do each night. I can’t help but notice the beauty of it all. This is France: cobbled streets, large fields, and homes too old for even the wisdom of my great-great-grandfather. I want to paint this city using only the colors of the rain, of the windy day, of the poems I found in a old, discarded leather notebook And Though I don’t understand what was said in that relic, I’m familiar with the emotions. I know the language of love. Isn’t that what poetry’s all about? Not speaking the language, but communicating just fine?

It’s seven thirty now and the window is clouding. I see many kids wipe their sleeve against the window to see beyond what’s right in front of their face, almost as if to peer into the heart of this city, but try as we may, nothing stops that early-morning fog from creeping up the windows of the bus. I know nothing will stop that fog creeping up the windows of my memory when this trip is done.

Home again after a long day, and there’s so many smells wafting through the kitchen. I close my eyes and I’m in Marc Chagall’s painting in the Opéra Garnier, so many colors floating through the air, so many smells in that painting

I open them, and I’m home again–my real home, though it still doesn’t feel like it. I open the journal I call my suitcase and see I need to wash my clothes, but I don’t want to. They’re still soaked with a mixture of wine and memories These smells are my poetry, and I know if I do, they’ll be wet and indistinguishable, like the time I accidentally left that notebook in my stargazing jeans, like Trévoux on that rainy morning

Two years after Lyon, it is not as sharp as it was in my memory. I look back on the poems I have written, but they only serve to remind me of small moments, Like that notebook, now crumbled and indistinguishable Every page forgotten in a washing machine.

Jack Snyder is a first year philosophy major at Susquehanna University. In his free time, he reads anything he can get his hands on, writes philosophical treatises, and performs poetry. You can find him around campus in the middle of teaching, learning, or debating with friends.

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