To the Man I Met on the Bus Last Night

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I didn’t mean to be rude, sir;

it is not that you,

yourself, frightened me,

for you were pleasant and kind.

You liked my hair, you said,

but your lips said you dreamt not

of tugging it salaciously,

malignantly.

You spoke of simple things;

you intimated no rage

nor lust

nor a ghostly heart.

In truth, I liked you;

you intrigued me,

and the cadence of your simple words

was light and warm.

 

I didn’t mean to be rude

when I turned from you:

I did it because they want me

to be weak,

to run without reason,

and what can I do?

I was alone and it was dark;

such effects weakness

in a woman,

they tell me.

 

I know you will not think of me;

I know you have not since I left.

But you will linger with me longer

than the smile of polite fear

that seized my face as I passed you,

for the last time,

and I tried to look at your eyes.

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