A Stranger Intrudes



One Friday in the backyard labyrinth
where I’d sneak off to smoke my father’s pipe
and hide from school, a girl I’d never seen
peeked through a door—I hadn't seen that either—
beckoned, retreated down the aisles of green,
and led me to a white horse streaked by weather:
an equine statue, marble, riderless.
She mounted to the bare back from the plinth
and stared straight at me. You are coming up, or—?
Blankly I nodded, followed, let her hold
my hand as our legs dangled, let her press
her lips’ soft print to mine….Her face was bold,
height modest, style no-frills but elegant.
I knew I’d found my type.
……………………………….Then off she went—
hopped down and left me wandering toward supper.


A visitor, the child of dignitaries
(our threshold in those days was graced by many):
mother a crystallographer, father a diplomat.
They visited more often after that.
The grownups in the parlor, sipping sherries,
gossiped about electrons or the Bourse
or my poor grades, as I slipped off with “Genny”
into a hedge or cupola to play.
A new nook every time. Needless to say,
we never found our way back to that horse.




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