How far can she take it, her body, her looks,
how steep will the dare be? I watch the nymphet,
idling behind her mother in the supermarket
line, and wonder, do an appraisal, just as she
must be doing a self-appraisal of her own. My
mind moves out, runs into the brain of Yeats,
hovering somewhere in distant space. The sage
answer he gives is simple: it depends, in any
context or situation to befall her, whether she
means it or not; whether she is in earnest. What
beauty buys is nothing if not hitched to a set heart
and brain. She looks to me, here, as though
she means it, alright; tying her shirt in a knot to
reveal her midriff, caressing herself restlessly
with her hands. What’s at stake is not merely
her body & face but her life; what it means, where
it may go. I have to look away, but when I look
back she’s gone. She’s left an imprint on my
imagination about youth, possibility, eternity
(even), worlds while they are in the process of
opening up, which the soul can see “forever” in.
May outside, first heat, & the revelation of what
ricochets, here, into the ethereal. She is, I’m sure,
in the car by now, weighed down by groceries,
mind already past her solitary passion. My own
solitary passion, as I walk down Butler Pike, is
merely to register having seen something someone
else saw (Yeats), the heaven and the hell of it, & in earnest, myself.