Sunday, June 07, 2009

Narcissists Anonymous - Teresa Leo

A jackal among hedgehogs. At the meeting,
N. looked around, not sure why him,

why he was forced to occupy a room
with these almost-but-not-quite paragons

of beauty, all magnificently groomed,
but whacked in a way he knew he was not.

And N. knew their grooming was the artifice
of grooming, the way some animals lick their paws clean

after stepping in shit. But they visually appealed
and he didn't mind looking at them,

one in particular, the more-and-better
of her elongated neck, the kind men sculpt statues

to immortalize, in the row before him.
When her neck moved, the woman's shirt moved,

lifted to show the black line of a G-string
and the tip of an angel tattoo. N. liked the way

the wing's veins etched low on the woman's hip,
the dark lines that arced in and out of view.

He liked imagining the tattoo's complexity,
the pain it must have caused her,

and began thinking of ways he'd follow the neck,
from curve to hip, cast the angel earthward

before the night was through. Then, N. got distracted
by the pristine condition of his own hands,

the length and width of his delicate fingers.
He thought of how the woman

would notice his hands first, the way all women did,
and how she'd be unable to stop herself

from thinking about what those fingers
would feel like inside her, which would force her

to shift in her seat, which would raise her shirt,
expose the G-string, and play in N.'s mind

like the opening of a sonata, which in turn would
thunderbolt down his torso to the backs of his knees,

and, for a second, feel something like shame.
It passed. The meeting broke. The woman

stood and turned. He was already thinking
of the beautiful and various ways he could leave her.

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