Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Flirting With Permanence

The blogger http://daisylacy.blogspot.com/ invited a poem concerning the topic of her blog: flirting. So I flirted with the idea and came up with a poem, and you should, too, of course.

Flirting With Permanence

You may consider flirting to be like the whisper
of butterfly wings in a flower’s ear or the light
touch of infinite possibility when skin brushes
skin. I’ve been sent to remind you, when the

time comes, to flirt with your long-space
companion, your spouse, the main squizzle,
that one to whom you plighted all the troth
you could muster, lo these many groovitudinous

moons ago. After many a season,
the faithful swan still flirts. Sure, anybody
can play at romance with strangers and
newly-mets in an amateur’s hour

of quips and blinking, glances
and sinking sight-lines. More’s required
of those who would flirt with them whom
they know, with those what’s seen practically

every flirtational tactic--all the plays and their
variations under the bodacious sun. Yes:
how to make eyes and otherwise surprise
a long-loved lover? That’s the question,

and if you’re a crafty pro-amateur, you
know the answer and flirt all right already
with the belle or beau you first flirted with
longtemps ageau. To tease pleasingly

a person you permanently love summons
a certain sagacious whimsy from you—
when the time comes, as I say,
and after it's stayed.


Copyright Hans Ostrom 2009
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