THE SS NORMANDIE
Confiscated from Vichy France, she sat
In the Hudson for months until the fire.
The smoke was so thick over midtown, rumors
Spread the Japanese had attacked New York.
The old transatlantic style fulfilled itself
In her Art Deco and Streamline Moderne.
She looked like a giant clipper, narrow
As a blade in Cassandre’s poster, black hull,
White decks, red belts at waterline and bow.
France herself seemed docked off 42nd Street,
A windy boulevard of flags, a hall
Of mirrors larger than Versailles filled
With families, couples, aloof aristocrats,
Loners in tuxedos staring at the waves,
Card players in capes and gowns, a score of chefs,
Waiters staggering across the Atlantic,
Bound west …