Nocturne for Edith Piaf
by Joel Allegretti
The accordionist, the gigolo,
the pugilist surely knew:
It all came down to the lights —
The footlights that fawned
over your delicious agony.
The lust lights of Place Pigalle.
The chaste lights of Sacré-Coeur.
It came down to the heart.
How it fractures like a thrown vase,
Like a lover’s airplane
for which the sky has no further use.
How, in breaking, it is more of a heart —
more than a heart.
Non, rien de rien
Non, je ne regrette rien
We smoked a Gauloise in your honor.
We danced the Apache in your name.
How we envy you, Mlle Gassion.
You had no regrets. But we do.
This Valentine's Day selection is from Joel Allegretti's latest book, EUROPA/NIPPON/NEW YORK: Poems/Not-Poems, released in 2012 by Poets Wear Prada. “Edit Piaf” first appeared in Compass Rose. Poets Wear Prada nominated this poem for 2013 Pushcart Prize.