It smells like tinkle outside,
a euphemism for what people do
all over the city.
A plastic bag hangs on the door
but I have no trash to offer.
Soft guitar music plays from the steps
overlooking the city lights that glimmer
like the candles inside, burning
below paintings of Mary and Jesus.
I lighted one and keep the reason safe for now.
If there was a prayer in my memory
I’d mutter it into the dome already filled
with the hopes of weary pilgrims
who want their mothers to live
or loved ones to remember them.
It’s a shame people climb
the steps ascending to their glory
just to urinate, expunge a coke can
and play tunes for spare coins.
If I hadn’t dropped my last Euro
in the donation box for the candle,
I’d leave it there on the ground
by the musician so he’d have to stop playing
long enough to claim it.
Matt Kostik lives in Burlington, VT. Traveling is a passion of his. Paris is one of his favorite places even though his French is shaky at best. He has a graduate degree from Middlebury College and is contemplating a PhD.