Poetry November 2004

A Snap Quiz in Body Language

We can't hear what they're saying, but that man
Is holding that woman in his arms. Your assignment
Is to deduce their thoughts from what they do.
They've left no apparent space between their bodies.
It could be called a close embrace, but notice:
Her arms are at her sides, her hands relaxed,
Her face impassive, while he's whispering
Something in her ear. His upper torso
Is tilted slightly forward. Hers is yielding,
But not in a way suggesting sweet surrender.
Is this a seduction scene? Is she being held
For questioning? Should she call a lawyer?
He's looking into her eyes now. How wide open
Would you say hers are? What does he see in them?
If he were to let her go, class, what would she do?

David Wagoner's most recent collections of poems are Travelling Light (1999) and The House of Song (2002). wagoner teaches at the University of Washington.
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