New Man at the Opera
With his head held at this angle, in the cape of a magician,
it’s true that he looks noble, but he’s merely a technician
in a laboratory where I fear they are uncouth—
where they dissect small animals and magnify the truth.
They then sell us the results at an inflated price.
Although he looks a gentleman, he isn’t very nice.
They say his former conquests are piled to the roof.
You’ll be his next small animal if you don’t stand aloof.
He distilled all their beauty into a fine elixir
that promises eternal youth. It is indeed a fixer
of wrinkles and of attitudes gained throughout a life
of the constant labor of motherhood and wife.
Thus goes all the gossip at the opera today
as the local ladies inspect, dissect and weigh
the assets and the defects of the newest man in town.
They titter and they bug their eyes. They giggle and they frown.
And by the end of the first act, they still don’t have a clue
about the way that they should act. What is it they should do
if they attract his interest? Should they snub or should they charm?
Each single lady fantasizes clinging to his arm.
The gossip after all may be a slight exaggeration
based loosely on the truth but still with no verification.
By interval, they’ve thought it through and make repeated passes
past the box he sits in, or view him through their glasses.
And early the next morning, they begin their primping—
their lipsticking and powdering, their combing, curling, crimping.
They line up on the sidewalk, waiting for their turn
to enter through his doorway to have their chance to learn
the truth about his mystery. In all, they numbered ten,
those maidens who there entered, and were never seen again!!!
The prompt words today are angle, noble, laboratory and magnify.