I Know A Few Things

Old bells wake me up
     At ten, then the wing snaps
Of pigeons skirting the courtyard
     Bring me to the window,
Where the young cosmeticians
     In their very clean outfits
On break check their phones
     And smoke and laugh among
Their number and roll
     Their beautiful made-up
Eyes at me when from above
     I wish all three of them 
A good day, then one flicks
     An ash and blinks twice,
Another takes a deep drag,
     And the third continues 
To answer the message
     Her father sent from home,
Concerning the death 
     Of the family cow,
So white and brown.

Copyright © 2014 by Stuart Dischell. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on January 13, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

About this Poem

"No matter how late I stay up, I always feel guilty sleeping in, even if it’s only until ten. The old bells are those of the church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, some of the oldest in the world, or maybe they are the ringtone of one of the cosmetician’s phones. In a gallery, I once heard a woman from the UK tell her friend she should call her, give her 'a bell' sometime soon."
—Stuart Dischell