by Grace Cavalieri
LOOK GENTLEMEN, WHO HAS ARRIVED
May I sit or must I stand?
This salon favors me, what shall we call it -
My sprightly lover? Reluctant lover?
Exhausted by its own lust?
Although you cannot see me,
Thank you, I’ll sit in
This red velvet chair
Nearest the fire.
Dissipation and levity once sat where I am now,
Without trinkets here, or dolls.
I can well imagine how you wish modesty, temperance,
Painted flowers, or a downcast eye.
Louis XlV would have loved me
So gracefully he knew
Who he was.
So it is with me,
In a different room, toasting a confusion of lies.
The child is eating mud
Off the street outside,
The blood is rolling in France
While you write of it.
Where have I heard this sound before:
This slobbering, this swaggering ape lying at my feet,
Drooling in his own malt, what shall we call it,
The blush of reason? Warming us? As if I belonged?
from WHAT I WOULD DO FOR LOVE:
Poems in the Voice of Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)