Janice D. Soderling


I change to the blue line at Champs Elysée on my way to Marie de Clichy. That is not essential to this story. I sit facing a young girl who is engrossed in a book. She is perhaps eighteen, neither pretty nor plain. She is wearing a hijab. That is not essential to this story. Her lips form the words as her eyes travel slowly down the page. I can see the title of the book. The girl is reading Anna Karenina. I believe that is essential to this story. She turns the page; her eyes lift and land. Her lips begin again to move. I gauge that she is halfway down the page when suddenly her eyes stop moving. Her lips stop moving. She stares at the page but she does not see it. She is looking at something beyond the printed word. As I watch, her face takes on an expression of the utmost tenderness, it is covered with a rare radiance. That is essential to this story. In fact, that is this story. For a measurable moment, she is beautiful, perhaps the most beautiful girl in Paris. Then her eyes once again focus on the page, she continues reading, her lips moving.

Janice D. Soderling has poetry, fiction and translations widely published in print and online. Recent and forthcoming online include 42opus, Nthposition, Autumn Sky, Barefoot Muse, Centrifugal Eye, The Chimaera, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Literary Mama, Loch Raven Review, Lucid Rhythms, Mezzo Cammin, Our Stories, Poemeleon, Right Hand Pointing,Umbrella, and Word Riot. Print publications include Event, The Fiddlehead, The Malahat Review (Canada) and Acumen, Anon, Other Poetry, Staple New Writing (U.K.); Beloit Poetry Journal, Blue Unicorn, Cumberland Poetry Review, Glimmer Train, Tipton Poetry Review (USA).

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