Friday, November 23, 2012

Une fille ou Une Femme Douce parmi Les Dames

When Cheri peers through her Polish eyebrows
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

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