L’inconnue de la Seine

by Seni Seneviratne

There was a swell on the surface of the Seine that day
making faces at me. So I blew kisses at an open mouth

and whispered, ‘Drown me peaceful, drown me slow.’
I wanted the time, you see, to float undead through Paris,

I could have choked on a glass of milk as a child
and missed this opportunity. Don’t call it suicide

as if it’s a tragedy. This was the first time in my life
I had been in control of anything. Imagine, not dying

but dissolving, becoming a river. Was I afraid?
Not of the fall. I was afraid of the Water Police,

the way they walk along the river, any one of them
could have seen me floating, but nightfall saved me.

Before the river had me, I had one last look at the stars
‘Just look at you,’ I said, ‘already dead and still shining.’

***

Previously published in:

Ten: New Poets from Spread the Word; ed. B. Evaristo & D. Nagra, 2010.