Street of Dyers

Coming home early in the morning,
I heard withered cats

behind the sycamores, the canal rushing
from a different century. The alleys

so quiet in this city I never really liked.
The widow with an Hermès scarf tied around her head

walked her ugly-beautiful dogs.
I lived behind a Louis XV door

in a room that imprisoned winter
even as spring was rife outside—

I was not in love, there was nothing to experience.

Richie Hofmann