Summer 1969 • Vol. XXXI No. 3 PoetryJanuary 1, 1969 |

The Rake

Half asleep, tonight I recall the poems. Too personal, I said then. No one should squint at me, half smiling, knowingly, as he thumbed those dangerous sheaves. Out there the darkness shakes masks in the ivy—warriors that compete with ghosts up from the pool, that pit of black beyond the beds. A thing armed with a rake gropes through my head. I must not look, will wake, wake up, look round. The bookcase glass looks back— well-made, fine woman, threads of gray, the mouth strong, yes strong, still strong. No one got past. And no one does. Yet, stretching out these hands clenched in my lap, observing how my breasts round out the silk, my crossed legs bare one thigh's unstockinged inches, womanhood remains and warms me, as it always warmed me when I started out to patronage, soft words, those manly jibes—thought they could con a girl! but pats on shoulders, even on the butt were cameraderies I leamed to share while waiting for my chance. I knew my mind: be docile first—(the lapdo

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