Post card

15th August 1997 at 01:00
Paris 1979. Without parents, we took my grandparents'

pre-war streetmap and an aunt's recommendation, from thirty years ago, for a "family run" hotel.

Now, it rented rooms by the hour and gave us

three seconds to race each corridor in a burst

of push-button light. Not knowing what it might mean,

we hoped for excitement, hoped so much

we could navigate by demolished landmarks

and get drunk on alcohol-free beer. A lesbian,

Jeanne Moreau in Jules et Jim, stroked my cheek.

Three Moroccans took you out for champagne.

Scared and protected by one another, we found

the city, its language, each encounter to be as turned up

and broken down as the colours on a postcard.

Lavinia Greenlaw

Lavinia Greenlaw's next collection, A World Where News Travelled Slowly, will be published by Faber in November.

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