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About this Poem 

"For two months every summer, you can pay ten euros to be lifted and spun in a little cage of air, weightless above the world's most romantic city. I did ride it once, with a friend, but I only overheard the story about a couple making love in one of the little cabooses swaying in the hot summer night wind. This poem is a celebration of solitude and desire and is suspended on the cable that connects the one to the many." —Catherine Barnett

Acts of Mind

Catherine Barnett, 1960

What's funny about this place
is us regulars coming in with our different
accoutrements, mine usually the little void
of space I call honey, days
I can barely get through I'm laughing so hard,
see? In the back a woman squeezes oranges,
someone presses the fresh white bread
into communion wafers or party favors.
In the window the chickens rotate blissfully,
questioning nothing--
Sometimes I flirt with the cashier, just improvising,
the way birds land all in a hurry on the streetlamp across the street,
which stays warm even on cold nights.
Guillaume says humor is sadness
and he's awfully pretty.
What do they put in this coffee? Men?
No wonder I get a little high. Remember
when we didn't have sex on the ferris wheel,
oh that was a blast,
high, high above the Tuileries!

Copyright © 2013 by Catherine Barnett. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on October 7, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Catherine Barnett

Catherine Barnett

Poet, editor, and teacher Catherine Barnett was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She studied at Princeton University and at the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.

Barnett is the author of two collections of poetry: Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced (Alice James Books, 2004) and The Game of Boxes (Graywolf Press, 2012), which was the recipient of the 2012 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets.

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