Expatriate Mona Lisa Lost and Found, 1911-1913

Diane Shipley DeCillis

I want you to think
in French,
think of sorrow
and how joy
follows closely,
like an only child.
Think of this
with the countryside
brushing your senses;
the fields of Provence
bursting with lavender,
yellow sunflowers
dipped in rain
and the scent of mimosa
that encircles you
the way a ring of smoke
from a Gauloises
floats seductively
from the O fo the lips
along the path
of breath and disappears
imperceptibly as sfumato.
Think of love,
love with its cancan
of veils,
how it comes
like a blush,
the soft rouge
you can’t hold back
and though you may try
to think,
sometimes in Italian,
sorriso, sorriso furbo,
sorriso compiaciuto,*
think only in French,
for if you disappear
to the dark side
of chiaroscuro,
tears will flow
like the seine,
until your return
a France,
when the moon
fills with Eiffel glow,
like a crown
upon the Louvre,
once you think,
this way,
in French.

*Italian: smile, cunning smile, smile of satisfaction