Late Valentine’s Day poem

I’ve been slacking on the “Friday Poem” on here — and everything else. Here’s one written some years back in the New York Public Library.

Rose Reading Room

You didn’t know today
when you woke up,
stumbled out the door
and slouched onto the train,
that you later would
sit down at a table to read
and become a poem.

Perhaps you would not
have worn the frayed jacket,
or that Elmer hat with the flaps
fighting to subdue brunette thickets
whose underbrush you keep
brushing away with
the back of your hand.
You probably would have
worn makeup, or jewelry,
sat up straight instead of
head resting on hand
resting on elbow, and your
lips would not move slightly.

But where would be
the poetry in that?
It would be elsewhere,
in someone else’s hat and hair.
Not here, in you, the messy
girl reading Shakespeare,
Ophelia with an iPod,
poetic enough for a couplet:

For in your unkempt look and earnest eyes
lies beauty that the book lifts from disguise.


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