Mr. & Mrs. Firebrace wanted to be French.
They dreamed in French, of a French maison.
They ate smelly fromage, drank vin rouge
and always a salade verte with vinaigrette.

They taught their children to say û – pursed lips,
saying ee; the sound was plus authentique
sandwiched between consonants, much admired
(oh là là!), often mistaken for better comprehension.

One way to be French was to have a French car.
First a pale blue four-door Renault 4,
seen racing south on the Autoroute du Soleil, with a pile
of luggage sailing the roof rack, low suspension.

The whole Renault range: sees, nurf, dooze, says,
van, van-tay-un
and finally, a Mercedes, because
by then they were living the dream and didn’t need
to be French since we were all European.