Poem by Shannon O’Connor


I’m Sorry, Paris

Most of the time,
when you think something’s going to be one
way, it turns out to be a different
way. It’s not always how you think.
It could be better or worse.

I thought Paris would be the most
fabulous place in the world,
but the energy I got from the people
was that they were all miserable.

I am a sponge that absorbs.
I can sense things.
I know when unhappiness exists.
I felt a city full of history and pain.

How many years has Paris existed?
Longer than American has been colonized.
The sadness of generations permeates
the air.

I felt the same thing in Russia and Germany,
but I was more vulnerable then.
I didn’t have the protection of medication,
which helps.
It hardens the heart.
So I didn’t feel as much misery in Paris
as I would if I weren’t
under the influence of pills.

Cheers to a walled heart.
Cheers to empathy.
Cheers to not letting other’s suffering
get me down
or drive me insane.

I’m sorry, Paris, but I didn’t feel your pain
as deeply as others.
I hope you forgive me.


Photography © Shannon O'Connor

Photography © Shannon O’Connor


Shannon O’Connor holds an MFA from Bennington College. She has been published previously in ODDBALL MAGAZINE, MEETINGHOUSE MAGAZINE, WORDGATHERING, and others. She has spent time in Southern France, where she wrote a lot of unplanned poetry. She lives in the Boston area.


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