By Kevin Boyle

I missed it on holiday by a mile
or so, collapsing at hilly
Sacré-Coeur—calling out,

My hips, my knees,
my wife answering, 
My hibiscus, my hydrangea,

darling, though I wish
I had marched farther on the Parisian butte 
like a Communard, braving

it to see the song-and-dance bar beautifully
named Lapin Agile, the agile 
or nimble rabbit who would enjoy

the cruel, rugged landscape,
and while there, I’d hoist a tankard
to toast the artist Utrillo

who painted the bar a hundred times,
a thousand, always from the outside,
perhaps because he loved drink too much

and inside were the drams and drafts
and cups and absinthe, and outside 
there was weather and next door

a cemetery where he would later lie.
Perhaps it’s best for me to see the bar
framed, hanging on a wall, and not to toast,

from inside, the melancholy Utrillo—
why toast an alcoholic?—
but to focus on his focus, the repetition 

that always changes
somewhat, an idée fixe that lets you see
the seasons that are colors and leaves

or no leaves at all. I don’t need to travel
since I can see what there is to see 
(life!) here in my sleepy and flat zero-ass town.

Kevin Boyle’s poems have appeared in NorthAmericanReview, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, and Virginia Quarterly Review. Boyle, who lives in Burlington, North Carolina, is the author of two books—Astir, which was a finalist for the Brockman-Campbell Prize, and A Home for Wayward Girls, which won the New Issues Poetry Prize.

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