Marie teaches Robin about poetry in July on the train as they cross the border from France to Germany on totally fake, totally illegal passports.
“I find it difficult to understand why you would choose to communicate your thoughts in any other way but the most direct,” says Robin. Marie privately agrees with her but says,
“It’s culture. It’s not about communicating the thought or idea quickly and clearly, it’s about the quality of communication, about being able to share the heart behind your thoughts and ideas.” The Beginner’s Guide to Poetry lies open on her lap as they pull hot air into their nostrils and spill it back out on their upper lips on the overnight train. The weather has been improbable and every time Marie fans her top in search of a lick of breeze, she is met with the moist, vinegary tang of the sweat collecting between her breasts.
Robin is still extremely skeptical and cooly suggests that if Marie really believes that communicating affection for another person needs to be done in more than 20 words at most, then perhaps Marie is in need of a neuro-examination. Marie says, “Remind me to have a chat with you about something called tact.”
Rather than respond, Robin rolls her eyes (still way too far back in her head – she looks as though she’s fitting) and elects to nap to conserve her energy levels for later. Despite herself, Marie ends up doing the same. When she wakes up, The Beginner’s Guide is closed over on her lap but peaking out of the top, next to her Princess Diaries bookmark is a scrap of immigration card. On the back is written:
I can do it in 17 syllables
I know the rules, so
I’ve let you sleep. Even then,
Your lips are lovely.