To the Sad-Eyed Girl With the Skunk Streak

Walking through Church Green I saw her,
with a look of anguish on her face,
as if moaning inwardly at her fate:
Her hair was auburn except for
a thick strip of white in the front,
the rare and striking skunk streak.

Really, I wish I could have said to her,
It doesn’t make you look like a hag.
Think, for example, of Susan Sontag.
One of my professors knew her at Chicago
and then in graduate school at Harvard.
He said all the young philosophers were

in love with her, to the extent they could
love anything or anybody.  It made her
look dashing, mysterious, exotic, but I
suppose you want less poetry, more prose
in your life sometimes—not to always be
The Dark Lady With the Curse on Her Brow.

As I watched her go I thought it
would have been nice to say something
and perhaps I would have tried if I’d been
younger and single, but even if I had
she would have thought as I spoke: what
kind of nut is attracted to a skunk streak?


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