Postcard proseIssue 15 | June 2012

Eiffel Tower

by Karen Greenbaum-Maya

An experienced tourist wants to get lost in Paris. It’s not easy. The Eiffel Tower always shows up unexpectedly, sticking out from chestnut trees, floating over McDonald’s golden arches, thrusting like a glimpse of a woman’s haunch between Belle Époque buildings. The experienced tourist plays at getting lost. He sits down at the next random café and looks around for a hotel and a bakery. He could stay for years on this dowdy stone street. He could take up a new life in a tiny corner studio shaped like the Eiffel Tower on the next street that fans out from one of those étoiles where identical streets splinter off like quarks from a split atom. He’ll walk one more street and find himself standing across from his apartment, as obvious as the Eiffel Tower. One day he bought sheets printed with the Eiffel Tower. He almost got lost in the Ste-Pierre, looking for Sacré Coeur, but when he came out of the shop, there it was, rising up on the hill like the sugar-cube model he’d made in seventh-grade history. 

The experienced tourist is tired of always knowing the way to the Eiffel Tower, such a sneaky structure. It looms silently through the milky air. No part of the Eiffel Tower could ever be part of anything else. He tries to confuse himself by turning corners every time he spots the Eiffel Tower. Nothing helps. He is tired of knowing the streets, of having a map in his head with all the monuments marked. He is tired of being impressed. He is looking for a place so ordinary that he won’t find his way home ever again.

About the author

Karen Greenbaum-Maya is a retired clinical psychologist in California. In another life, she was a German Lit major, read poetry for credit, and lived for Art. She has been in such wild places as: Jasper, Alberta; Radium, British Columbia; Ray Lakes in the Sierras, and the Greyhound bus depot in downtown Los Angeles after dark. She received Honorable Mention in the Muriel Craft Bailey Memorial Contest, and her poems and photographs have appeared in Lilliput Review, Off the Coast, and Sow’s Ear. Kattywompus publishes her two chapbooks, Burrowing Song and Eggs Satori. See more at her blog.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok