Volume 34, Number 4

Decision Point

I am in a shop having a cup of tea
As it is too early, in principle,
For beer.  Across the street
And hidden partially by the corner
Of a building that looks as though it has
Somewhere else to be, a woman
Is taking off her clothes.  No one
Much cares.  A few walkers
On the abutting sidewalk turn to look,
Men longer than women, children
Ogling the most.  But then they return
To keeping any eye on the traffic, gauging
The onset of street corners, dodging
Approaching pedestrians.  I am
Across the street, in a commercial
Establishment.  I can watch
The entire production of her with
Impunity.  In the end, she is not
A particularly striking woman, and I am
Too remote, making details
Difficult to eke out.  And the uncomfortable
Building shades her irregularly.  In the end,
It is how gracefully she moves that sums
What she is doing.  Someone finally
Stops, perhaps asking her if something
Is wrong.  I imagine her saying,
How could anything be wrong?  

—Ken Poyner