Windows in Europe


A Very Mary Variation 

Using line 1 borrowed from Mary Oliver’s “The Invitation”

Windows in Europe

it could mean something

I’d flown to Europe for a weekend teacher conference 

somehow my parents met me there – 

Dad, who’s living 

and Mom, who’s not 

oh, but she pays her visits 

my dogs showed up,

too, there in Europe 

Fitz and Boo Radley

I had to reschedule

my flight to extend my stay – so I couldn’t fly home with her

but Dad asked if I wanted to see some windows

of course I did- there may be a message in them for me

we got on a bus and ended up at the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre, overlooking Paris from a high elevation

I recognized the little café 

on the Rue de 

(Something in French) across the way – La Cremaillere 1900 

where I’d eaten some bland 

baked chicken 

and potato rounds 

in June 2019

we took a walk up some steps to an ice cream shop called Big Sur

where dogs were allowed inside

I wondered if Boo’s poodle heritage had anything to do with it 

and sat at a dirty table,

my parents and I 

the waitress took my order – 

but I didn’t know the flavor lineup so I picked chocolate mousse – 

but the waitress kept getting everything switched 

actually gave me my mousse 

(I took a couple of bites) 

and then gave it to my mother

then gave me someone’s bowl of Rice Krispies? they’d started


I tried to take a sip of water but it was someone else’s glass 

so the waitress snatched it away from me

and brought a container of milky ice cream water for me 

saying that should work for now

and in all this 

I watched a girl jump with a parachute from a high cliff 

and waited until nearly 

hitting the ground 

before pulling the string 

and landing fine

I never saw any interesting windows to speak of 

but I ate every last one of my Rice Krispies and drank the milk

and Mom shook her head and looked at me as if I should make a better choice than to eat like


when we left I gave her a bag she’d forgotten 

making sure Dad

knew I had recovered it 

embarrassing Mom, but letting him know to watch out for her 

we got separated at a bus stop,

but the brief visit was nice –

probably a good window 

of Melatonin

dreams like these let me know she’s still here

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