Heading home to High Park one evening on the subway (Toronto transit for those from away), I overheard a very intense conversation between a not-couple, couple seated across from me.  It was wide-ranging though focused on cultural Judaism and religious Judaism.  This poem emerged sitting across from that engagement.

Goddess on the Last Train

I want to be the goddess on that train.

 

Such lush, bountiful, languid disregard.
Such casual ease, resolved indifference.

The architecture of cloth does not bind her

but spills her softly rounded flesh,

stretched out, in confident display.

A lioness,

sated after feeding.

I want to be the goddess on that train.

No constraints, of place or time.

Such indolent, sprawled, reclining attitude,

such unself-conscious grace.

Commanding the body she inhabits.

Content in its animal softness.

Goddess radiates power.

 

Stretches arms, cross behind.

Arches back, flesh revealed.

Releases arch, flesh concealed.

My Lady of Travellers, My Bohemian Queen.

Cascading mane of rich brunette,

tossed over shoulders, casually exposed.

Sun-kissed freckles on creamy canvas

tempts the eye,

downward,

following curves.

Goddess sandals sparkling, gold,

in the neon light of the train's harsh glare,

bouncing, slowly, on confidently crossed knee.

And the man who stands before her

in his navy three-piece suit,

as he tells her of a Jewish miracle,

that I no longer remember;

only that the tale involved war,

as it so often does,

and abandoned farms.

His eyes averted, awkward.

For to look upon the Holy of Holies,

is to be blinded.​

 A man cannot look upon a goddess,

and be unchanged.

 

Then she tells him, in dismissive tones:

"You and I could not be more different,"

as she gazes past him,

into the evening warmth.

Fiona Mackintosh (© June 4, 2011)

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