Could have been the Geisha I drew
with a blue crayon, the children and I
shared a green and a blue one,
doodled on the table cloth, all of us chattered,
ate bread, waited for entrée's, celebrated
The couple next to us tried discreetly
to study my blue Geisha, passed along
their awkwardness, the woman, sad,
stared into each face at our table,
the man, silent, as if to say—don't be so
She made me uncomfortable, when our food
arrived, watched us devour it.
After—the bus boy took our dishes, I studied
the sad woman, the indifferent man, their lack
of harmony. Her sadness settled in long ago,
he rose, went to the bathroom without excusing himself,
she didn't notice, just drank wine instead.
And I thought I saw her memories, tragedies,
their emptiness on the legs of the wine and even after,
when we were leaving, my wife's uncle asked me
if I'd noticed her pale skinned Eastern European features,
her elegance. I remarked how she appeared sullen,
he replied he hadn't noticed that.
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This poem was born out of observation. Sometimes I think Milosz said it all when he called poets, reporters.