To the Woman I Left at the World’s Fair, 1974.
This poem won Third place in the 2012 2-Day Poem Contest
There you were, an Eastman Kodak girl in a yellow dress,
Orange-lipped and garrulous, offering to take my picture.
What was the line I used to scoop you up?
I could spend my whole life measuring
The sweet geometry of your freckles.
I recall your voice, suddenly salient
Over Bing Crosby crackling on loudspeakers,
As you promised me your tomorrow.
In the entrance to the Soviet Pavilion
I joked that Lenin was staring down your blouse,
And you blushed borsht-red.
You agreed to harbour me in your trailer,
Said my exhalations on your eyelashes gave you shivers,
That you couldn’t tell a tickle from a pinch.
In your tiny kitchen, you dropped rhubarb into a pan,
Sugared it and spoon-fed me while we watched,
Through clouded windows, the splash of strangers
Coalesce into a throbbing crowd.
From May to September, I loved you.
Loved how it took us hours on hours
To wend our way down glassphalt walkways.
Forgive me for believing I was smarter than you,
For letting your voice abrade and blend
Into the roller coaster screams.
I left you sitting cross-legged on your mattress
Tracing patterns into the freckles on your forearm:
A triangle, a triangle, a triangle, a star.
Published online June 01 2012.
This poem was a winner in CV2’s annual 2-Day Poem Contest. Every April, CV2 challenges players to create a new original poem that uses all 10 words of our choosing. It’s poetry under pressure for prizes, publication, and personal bests. Learn how to sign up for the next 2-Day Poem Contest.