Père Lachaise by Jennifer Lagier


Père Lachaise
by Jennifer Lagier

Our guide, Jean-Jacques,
tells us stories,
reads inscriptions
on mausoleums.
Marks a map as I
explore a city of death
with expatriate friends.
We pass grandiose memorials.
Angels and antichrists decompose
beside housewives and saints.
Fading lipstick kisses polka dot
Oscar Wilde’s neutered sphinx.
According to rumor, a bureaucrat
anchors his paperwork with
the severed stone sex.
Someone has stolen Jim Morrison’s
bronze bust, a poppy and twist
of marijuana left in its place.
Gertrude Stein holds her final soiree
among deceased literati.
Effigies of the Buchenwald slaughtered
hold hands and dance.

PHOTO: Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France, showing the grave of composer Frédéric  Chopin (1810-1849). Photo by Pixabay, used by permission. 


NOTE: Père Lachaise Cemetery, the largest cemetery in Paris, France, is visited by more than 3.5 million people each year. Established as a cemetery by Napoleon in 1804, it is named for the confessor to Louis XIVPère François de la Chaise (1624–1709).  Père Lachaise is still an operating cemetery, but will only accommodate individuals who die in Paris or have lived there. Many renowned people are buried in Père Lachaise. 

PHOTO:  Père Lachaise Cemetery by Coco Parisienne, used by permission. 

jen-20161ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Lagier has published eighteen books. Her work appears in From Everywhere a Little: A Migration Anthology, Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, Missing Persons: Reflections on Dementia, Silent Screams: Poetic Journeys Through Addiction & Recovery. Her newest book is Camille Comes Unglued (Cyberwit). Forthcoming is Meditations on Seascapes and Cypress (Blue Light Press). Visit her at jlagier.net.

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