Seeing in crowded restaurants the one you love
You wave at the door, tall girl in imperious fur,
And make for him, bumping waiters, dropping a glove,
Arriving soft with affectionate slur.
As ladies half-turn, gazing, and men appraise
You heap the linen with purse, scarf, cigarettes, lighter,
Laughing some instantaneous droll phrase.
As if sudden sun came out, the table is brighter.
All moods: at a party everybody’s delight;
Intent while brown curls shadow the serious page;
When people are stuffy (more correct than right)
The stamp and turn on heel of a little girl’s rage.
But woman mostly, as winter moonlight sees,
Impetuous midnight, and the dune’s dark trees.
John Frederick Nims, “Portrait” from Selected Poems (Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 1982). Used by permission of Bonnie Nims.
Source: Selected Poems
(The University of Chicago Press, 1982)