A Joke

By Alexandra Mouratidou

 

Leaning out of a round-bamboo chair in Le Journal,

she wears round sunglasses from the 70’s:

a fainting white tulip.

Her cheeks pink and puffy,

her hair long and rebellious.

She isn’t beautiful. She’s unripe.

 

Hungry saliva eats his chin

at the sight of the chaste teen.

 

She feels life and lives feeling

and failing to learn this and that,

she knows everything.

She multiplies over the years

and when ages pass

she meets him

behind a stranger’s canvas.

 

His hand runs through his greying hair;

seeing her again seems like a fairytale.

 

They get together and with this and that

they get married and have a son,

grow a garden, read poetry books

have a collection of jazz and blues,

play the records, dance with them too

and fit together like white in blue.

 

But at night, he looks at her picture when no one sees:

he’s in love with that girl with the puffy cheeks.

 

She figures it out; she’s seen him too,

staring at her photo with the round bamboo.

So, she picks up the phone and with a voice half-heard

she calls her lawyers and announces to them:

my husband is cheating on me with my past self!

 

He swears to God, he never did!

And for Christ’s sake, that girl is her! 

But she knows well that she’s not her,

and time will prove her right.

Besides, she wonders, what kind of man

can’t tell the difference between

pure and puerile.