For the Night the Room

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For the night, the room and the lights
Were a fraction dim
And even as I spoke about the weather to him
We were in neither’s company, as were each, every other:
In distracted cliches, redundant trim,

We — all who wore pants to which
Tucked in shirts ironed with care gave looks —
Were all self-consciously subdued,
As in fear of being discovered each minute, turn, look employed
To steal a glance, a grin, a nod from He(le)n of Troy.

No. You couldn’t give offense and could assume without care
And we all praised you and the
Creator of the underwear. How many delighted by a word, a grunt,
Is not known, for the census taker’s pen
Once the bar of straightness is raised, would prefer not to write again.



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