On stage the bearded, bare-chested pirate
woos the rich woman
old enough to be his mother.
White lace gloves
hide her freckled hands.
Dangling blonde curls hide
her face’s black circles, lines, and scars.
Pale, thin lips hide her teeth.
A sky blue satin dress with lace collar
and cuffs hides
her neck, breast, stomach,
and legs, her body mysterious.
Harper checks the program.
The playwright is a woman.
Mr. Straight sits beside her.
She looks over at him.
Does he believe
that the woman onstage is desirable?
Off stage he woos Harper by talking.
He informs her that back then
any woman with all of her teeth
was a great beauty. She smiles,
not showing her capped, whitened teeth,
but loosening the shawl around her toned body,
her mind mysterious.
Marianne Szlyk is an associate professor of English at Montgomery College, Rockville. Several of her poems have appeared in The Blue Hour; one, “Listening to Electric Cambodia,” was also included in The Blue Hour Anthology Volume Two. Other poems have been published in Aberration Labyrinth and the Linden Avenue Literary Journal as well as in the print anthology Of Sand and Sun.