I watch all the women,
disembarking from the ship,
laughing noisily, walking
like geese along the dock,
until one swan emerges.
No tide surges,
no distance between her & the flock,
only my eyes walking
on air, an instantaneous clip
cuts to the sultry women
I saw on the French Rivera beach,
nude, proud to be alive while
I, young American tourist,
can only think of writing poetry
on a blank page in the notebook I carried.
When the scene of copper flesh gets buried
into past memories, & the, no hurry,
swan lady disappears, I become less purist,
more rebel, spying you reclined in your bikini. I smile.
In that moment, Billy Collins words reach
out to me from his poem:
Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes.