There may have been several women
worthy of notice,
but she was the one I did notice.
Coming and going, she came and went,
and so I came and went.
Stopping and starting, she set the course
of my own manoeuvres.
Past Roman farm tools, pausing at cracked pots,
opening drawers of Victorian lace,
doubling back for a second look
at a Regency chair,
we became familiar, one after the other,
with ropes and exits.
How long this went on I can tell you
to the very minute.
I can also describe minutely
much that I saw,
each piece now associated
with the pivot of her neck,
with the slope of her shoulders.
At last, to my keen dismay
and my keen relief,
she turned on her heels and marched by me—
leaving me rooted, leaving me face to face
with the yellow and spotted page
of a Renaissance prayer-book.