Imagine her pale, sheathed in black, the shine
of vinyl cupping her bust; imagine
steep heels, the pleats of a wisp of a skirt,
silver rings on ivory fingers.
Imagine him lean, sleeved with ink, black boots
and bare knees skinned on white linoleum.
Imagine his gaze unfocused, senses
fixed on her body ascendant above him.
His will to hers subdued. That clean heat we
suffer from our seats, the sight of skin we
know we ought not see: the air inside them
hard for us to breathe.
We feel we are changing, the residue
of witness clings, singed volatility.
A sympathy awakens, pity too,
but behind, beyond, between all the aches
of new desire, our sense something sweet
and secret has crept in, worked itself free.
Imagine them thus: dark, expressive—bold
relief against a field of bleating need.
William H. Wandless
earned his Ph.D. in English from Emory University in
the summer of 2002. He specializes in the prose fiction of the eighteenth century, particularly as it
raises and addresses questions of ethics. An avid trespasser, he nevertheless poaches on other literary
and popular periods and territories, whenever and wherever words tempt him. He currently teaches at
Auburn University, and he will assume a professorship at Central Michigan University in the fall of 2006.