smiling, letting her long Swedish hair fall,
pushing up the bra under her sweater,
maybe using the mirror behind her,
she must know the odds she’ll not take a job
paying nothing but the wages of sin.
Yes, I’ve begun watching the Bresson films
again, this time imagining a life
as I do so. She’s a gentle daughter
too young to be more than my granddaughter.
She saves her money to go to London
where she will become a missionary
in training for the Filipino poor,
speaking Spanish among the dog-eaters.
She would learn what I can’t teach. I’m a sin
incubating male evil-incarnate
digits et penetralia, I want
to be her incorrigible glamour
hombre, diablo with no pointy ears,
still Scots-Welsh-Irish, barbed at the far end
of seventy-three for her twenty-three–
no one like the cure in the country
or the pickpocket seeking redemption,
or a schoolgirl throwing stones at others,
or novitiate of Paris ladies.
--after Mouchette (1967), Un Femme Douce (1969), Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945)
(23 November 2012)
copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander