When She Walked in the Room
Not as smart as the rest.
Not beautiful yet at ease
in a way none of the other students
A mean girl
comfortable with her body.
Sitting with legs open
panties on view to the world.
She flashed cleavage when she leaned over.
Had to be reminded about today’s assignment.
Flashing flesh and a whiff of eroticism
as though she were in control of the entire class.
I’m a married man with two wonderful kids
and I no longer lust after teenagers
but her legs draw my eyes
over and over again. And she knows it.
They also draw the eyes of the woman
who’d invited me to lecture on poetry.
Afterwards we are both astonished
that no matter what we did we were drawn
again and again to glance between this
blond woman’s legs.
Ashamed of the control
she had over both of us.
Unable to comprehend how such a thing
is possible in one so young.
Angry at being so blatantly toyed with
when so many other women in the class
were so brilliant and creative.
And yet hours later it’s the one who
stooped to sexual grandstanding that I recall.
The one who troubles my sleep.
The one I couldn’t look in the eye.
Richard Peabody edits Gargoyle Magazine and has published a novella, two books of short stories, six books of poems, plus an e-book, and edited (or co-edited) nineteen anthologies. He teaches fiction writing for the Johns Hopkins Advanced Studies Program.
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