Ma Chere
by Robert Malbin

Sheʼs sweet and
Iʼm having a hard time
Saying bitter things about her.
She let me know right off the bat
Sheʼs not French
Sheʼs Corsican.
She let me know right off the bat
I canʼt use her real name.
Her husband, sisters, children, grandchildren,
Colleagues at the University
Colleagues at the BNF
Colleagues at Museums
All over Europe and Asia
Colleagues in the Diplomatic Corps
Wouldnʼt like.
I can live with that.
Ma Chere waits for me at her cafe.
A patch of sunlight in her eyes.
She is always early.
A compliment to me.
On her face the same old question.
Is this the day
He throws me away?
Ma Chere loves contradictions.
I ask her to wear black
So I can photograph “La Nude.”
She says “No.”
But shows up matter of fact
Wearing a black skirt
A black scarf
A black top
A black teddy 
Black stockings
With toenails black
And a piece of black lace.
The lace is for her face.
For “La Nude.”
And later when I walk her to the train
And she goes through the doors
She doesnʼt look back.
I can live with that too.

Robert Malbin has been writing more than forty years.  On occasion he's been lucky enough to grab a smile or two.  This poem is from his chapbook Oldpoey In Paris

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