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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 has been in wild places such as: Jasper, Alberta; Radium, British Columbia; Ray Lakes in the Sierras, and the Greyhound bus depot in downtown Los Angeles after dark. Places where she has passed for native include Munich, New York, Paris, and Portland (the Oregon one). She has placed poems and photographs in: Lilliput Review, Off the Coast, Sow’s Ear, Waccamaw and Word Gumbo.

Read our current issue:

Poetry

Three poems by Emma Aprile
Bulgarian Pantoum by Aileen Bassis
When You Get There by Kate Bernadette Benedict
To Get to Trondheimsfjord by Sue Chenette
The New Place by Sadie Ducet
A Funeral in Zarra by Joe Evans
Port Cities and Pantries by Christine Jones
Boston Graveyards by David Landrum
Morgan’s by Sean J Mahoney
Rats by Alexander Motyl
Tell Me The Road by Michael Pearce
Walls in Warsaw by Michael Sarnowski
Words I have traveled, sadly beyond by Janice D. Soderling
Pale Blues by Lynne Thompson

Postcard prose

Postcard by Marc Harshman
How to Cross the Widest Highway in the World by Maryann Ullmann