Perhaps It Was All Very Innocent

I returned to working at Lashonda’s House
And had the shift on Thursday evenings

One night after I left the house at 10:45
I went to the grocery to pick up a few things

As I was looking over the romaine lettuce
A shiver shot through me

I looked up and a drop-dead gorgeous young woman
Was staring at me and walking toward me

“You’re the professor who wrote Stature and Terror
I prepared myself for imminent vitriol

“Where did you hear of such a thing?”
“You’re the author, right?”

“One and the same”
“Hi, I’m Jessica Balaban, and I want to thank you for what you wrote”

“You actually read it?”
She shifted her weight to her left leg, arms crossed: “Seriously?

I read every word
Got in a fight with my parents about it”

“You’re very kind…”
“Really, I want to thank you

Are you busy right now?”
I looked around saying

“I’m just here with the produce”
“Would you have time for a drink?

I don’t live far from here
We could talk more about your book”

Something in her tone triggered a memory
Of when Carla told me

How she’d been walking around East Jerusalem
And passed Mordechai Vanunu near St. George’s

He was talking excitedly to a young Japanese woman
About favorite operas

So I took a deep breath
And said to the über-model in front of me

“It’s been very nice to meet you
Thank you for reading my book

But I have to be going
Call your mother tomorrow

Tell her you met me
And say ‘his book

Is much more interesting
Than he is’”


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