Sexual Harassment

It’s hardly my fault. There I was
reading Maurice in a corner seat
when this brownhaired undergrad
staggered in with a stack of books
and decked them all on the low table

between us. His quick fingers browsed
the shelved bookspines, parted them
and shoved returns into the gap.
I tried to read the face of his back
but his thick checked shirt was a curtain.

Then he reached for the higher ledge,
as if putting his hands up on the wall,
and drew his drape up slightly.
The sun lit the line of hair that slid
from the torso’s nape into the jeans.

Given to ogling at stage-flats,
non-interactive things, I held
my paperback like a program.
He did not catch me looking at
him when he turned to pick up books.

Chastity-belted in thermal wear,
my groin snarled, I admit, to chance
the law’s, and his, displeasure, bang
him on the table, send books flying
off dusty shelves, medieval racks,

but I honestly swear I did not lay
the tiniest finger on him, I did not
say a single word, and certainly
did not, despite the book, hope
he’d escape with me into the wood.


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