Hard to Get


Hot Girl, tell me you’re married,

or at least aggressively taken, Handmaiden

of the Lord, maybe? Anything to make

the vision of our future I’ve been drafting

since you crossed the street less sound.

Taking your sidelong glance for a sign

that you’re game, if not mine, I’m 

trying to unscript the conversation

I’m striking up like a bad brass

section rusted from lack of practice,

would rather get back to my book,

my coffee cup, looking blankly 

out the window instead of following 

you imaginatively down

the street, taking all manner of liberty

with decorum, and then with decency. 

It was, before you came, my day,

my space, people going about business

and minding their own.  Barging

in like this, you’re as bad

as a billboard, as tactless, 

suggesting sex with a stranger

by not looking my way; Coy Mistress,

why can’t you be more as Marvell’s, 

as full of fifteenth-century feminine

virtue, who’d ride high swings 

in a hoop skirt, legs pumping

open and wide, ankles

like tongues of chapel bells.


First Published in Grain Magazine

After the painting "The Swing" (1766) by Jean-Honore Fragonard