Le Petit Parisien, 1952
A small boy running, but not for his life,
as all can see in his fearless smile
and the sense of freedom
that lights his eyes. This is the day
he will always remember,
important only because of an errand
and the small coin he didn’t drop,
holding it up on tiptoes
across the counter of a baker’s shop,
disregarding for once
the glass-fronted shelves of pastries
laid out on a lower level.
The still warm, unwieldy baguette
stowed beneath his arm,
he races homewards.
At his feet his shadow,
can only just keep up, one step behind.
Shape-shifting, a demon,
it seems momentarily a cat –
its back hunched, its dark pelt bristling.