London Crossfigured


                  creeping with trams

         and the artists on sundays
                                        in the summer   
   all ‘tracking Nature’
                               in the suburbs

                could have been anyplace   
                         but it wasn’t
                              It was

                                                and when someone shouted over

that they had got a model

                                  I ran out across the court

                     but then
                                 when the model started taking off
                her clothes
                                 there was nothing underneath
                                                                           I mean to say   
    she took off her shoes
                                     and found no feet   
                  took off her top
                                          and found no tit
                                                under it
                  and I must say she did look
                                                          a bit
                         just standing there
                              looking down
                        at where her legs were

         But so very carefully then
                                                she put her clothes back on   
and as soon as she was dressed again
                      she was completely
                                                 all right

                Do it again! cried someone
                                                       rushing for his easel

                But she was afraid to

                                           and gave up modelling   

            and forever after

                         slept in her clothes

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, “London Crossfigured” from These Are My Rivers: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1955 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation,
Source: These Are My Rivers: New and Selected Poems (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1993)
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