(not quite) an ode

i wish i loved you. honestly.
i am not a girl who plays hard to get even though my grade 9 girls swear
it’s the only way to get and keep love.
i am older. this game of cat and mouse is not my thing.

i went to you wanting to love and be loved. i confess i’m easy this way.

as we enter the city, i catch my first glimpse of your perfect church, st. vitus,
blossoming out of the hilltop, showing off your gothic, your Romanesque, your renaissance.
the narrow cobblestone streets of your colourful past lead me gently where i want to go.

your trams quiet and punctual, your cakes extraordinary, your skies blue as cornflowers. after blissful duvet nights, i awake to yellow-butter sun.

but this does not add up to love.

in the old square, cookie-cutter church spires rise like Disney.
stores are packed with beauty we cannot afford to buy.
a street named “paris” boasts louis vitton and prada, but to who?

there is something about you, Praha, that is cold like stones.

maybe it wasn’t fair to you coming, as we did, from Budapest.
like it was unfair to Lisbon arriving after Florence. it took me days to fall. to appreciate Lisboa’s broken down beauty and the sad wail of fado.
maybe it’s like that, then.

maybe not.

at the airport we meet a family we know from school. we’ve seen the same cities. wandered the same central European streets. someone asks, “which did you like best?” Budapest.

4 adults and 3 kids nod their heads.

i wanted to love you, Prague, but i couldn’t.

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