The Other Side by Steve Lehman

She smiled at me from the other side of the desk,
perky as a peacock, like so many coeds before,
but my reaction was new;

not organized efficiency,
or intellectual curiosity,
or fatherly concern,
or officious frustration,
or the remotest flicker of inappropriate desire

(an occupational hazard
as well as biological necessity
in the grand scheme of things).

A halo wreathed her seraphic face,
and I felt a prayerful reverence,

as for the Virgin Mary
in whose virginity,

I must confess,

I do not believe:
only now I understand . . .

why so many people do.

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