French Movie


Even if they stopped smoking
the French would have something to do with their hands.
There’s always bread
to carry under the arm, place on the table
cut with a gleaming knife.
(A useful tool if panivorous silence turns to rage.)

Silence is necessary
or else all passion turns to nonchalance in a phrase.
Une femme d’un certain âge, par exemple,
ou ménage à trois.

So pauses dominate if the goal is Cannes.
Sometimes it’s best if one character speaks no French
and the subtitles are white on white
and we aren’t sure if the lovers are brother and sister
and someone has paused on a bridge at night.

Previously published in Umbrella: A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose.

Robert E. Wood teaches at Georgia Tech. His poetry has appeared in Poets and Artists, Blue Fifth Review, NDQ, and Prairie Schooner. His Gorizia Notebook was published by Finishing Line Press.

Object(s) to bring back to life: “Wooden baseball bats at all levels of competition.”