Afternoon Girl Redux

She leaves me her smile

A sentiment that lingers

Along with her lukewarm tea

And darts down the avenue

Into the urban hustle

A bustle of unclaimed shrews.

Why does she leave me?

Her biscotti is still warm

Half dipped in her seasoned tea

But shrugs off my golden band

Like our pretty repartee

A bottle iced but uncorked.

Did I say something?

Laugh at her polka dot dress?

Or mock her sensible shoes?

Or did I not grovel much

Get down in the mud with her

And lighten her groundling cares?

She left me her card

Square cut with a bit of fringe

Font from a virginal rose

But printed on workman stock

A Jacobin’s calling card

Every chambermaid a queen.

So what does it say?

Your Afternoon Girl

Call Me What You Wish

Tips Are Well Received

A number and an exchange

A few sixes and a twelve

Digits once scrawled on a stall.

So what did she say?

Her question asked but unsaid

A knowing tilt of her head

Why did you settle on me?

One dot among so many

To which to draw out your line?

The luck of the draw?

Stars aligned just so?

Fates happy refrain?

Perhaps you can see your wife

Back before she surrendered

And turned your house to a home.

I could not answer

Offered a cookie instead

Or a bit of sugared bread

She declined the token

Choosing to nibble my mind

A huntress wanting to bind.

So now she is gone

Her polka dot dress a blur

Hastened retreat to her time

And yet still nibbling on me

Almond sugar on her lips

Like a minstrel with her tips.

The waiter returns

A frog licking his mustache

In search of his Parisian:

More butter and cream, Monsieur?

Biscuit sprinkled with honey?

A cookie topped with aged Brie?

I wave him away

Punctuated with a huff

I can be Parisian too

Search for the sway of her dress

While pocketing her square card

And lighting my rose wood pipe.

I cannot see her

My eyes clouded by old smoke

Embers from an ancient lust

So I finish my cold tea

Her discarded biscotti

Snap for the final decree.

Will I call for her?

The square card nudges me so

The ache from Adam’s lost rib

Tis a question to ponder

When kissing my wife tonight

And switching off homespun lights.

But will I call her?

Alone my side of the bed

My wife muttering in sleep

I play with my golden band

I see my Afternoon Girl

How she tilts her head just so.

But dammit will I?

I already have called her

A million times in my mind

Before the first hint of dawn.

Each time she asks with her eyes:

Why should I settle on you

When a spot of tea will do?

Published by Michael Sean Erickson

I write, act, and produce films in Los Angeles. Everything else is conjecture.

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