22 (seated at her table)
To a woman like that, I'm nobody.
But this other woman says that's not true.
The first is Harvard, summa com laude.
The second is Vassar, professor's delight.
It used to be a real victory,
to get myself adopted by the first,
to get myself admired by the second.
Now it's something else, something more like thirst.
Despite themselves, they laugh like I'm funny,
like my urban blight is a city of light,
like one day I won't dry up in the draught,
and I'm still a dirty, charming youth,
knowing the alleys of the hymnody.
It's not what we want now, but we're still stunned,
and we turned, she and I, to what beckoned.