He ambles through the library door, and
I can’t look away from his face, handsome
as a model’s from GQ magazine. He slides
onto a chair across the room from me.
The principal begins to speak, but I’m not
listening. I hear another language on the tongue
of my mind tell me how attracted I am to this
first-year teacher. I try not to stare, look around
at shelves full of books, feel as old as worn bindings.

The principal introduces the new teacher, Joe,
fresh from college. Faces register skeptical acceptance.
I begin an internal dialogue with Joe: “When you’re older…”
I nearly say aloud. “When I was your age…” sounds
even more ridiculous. “I’m nearly forty-seven,
promised myself I wouldn’t get old.” I shrug inwardly
at a mirror, him who has not, as yet, made eye contact.
Maybe he hates me throwing glances at him. Maybe
he’s outraged that I occasionally gawk.

The meeting draws to an end. Faculty sag out of chairs,
and I swallow final truth that I want to claim his beauty
for my own, that, in this unyielding waltz toward death,
I have a deep wish to be chosen by this young man.