I’ve seen her around town before—she’s dreadlocked, blonde,
distinctive, a warrior. Today she wears shorts, & I admire her
musculature, the way her tattoos of birds on one leg coil & uncoil
with each step of her foot. She’s immediately interesting to me.
Our eyes lock & she challenges me. Her eyes are cold & worldly,
her face flat & expressionless—she is a shield, already tougher
than I’ll ever be. I know she thinks we’re not kindred spirits.
My interest isn’t returned. Her piercing eyes refuse taking me in,
reject me out of hand. I sense something coiled & fierce within
her. Why do you adorn yourself if you don’t want me to look
or watch you? I adorn my body for me & for those who I want
to search & caress me with their eyes—not you. I can’t muster
smile or comment. I sue for peace, look away. She strides on.
I didn’t think so, her stride says. I mean no offense—it’s just this:
I don’t know how to look at women or men, children or anyone
out of the confines of work & occasional literary events I attend.
I can’t explain this unending awkwardness, this reluctance, this
dread. She strides into the future. I watch her into the distance
until she disappears behind a building. I hope your eyes thaw
& warm for someone. I wait for my bus, my ride into the past.
Andrew Shattuck McBride
October 2, 2012
PaPoWriMo ~ 2012 *Day Seven Poem*