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by Carol Frost

To say fabricated things, where freedom is forced
              on young girls,
and give it your own sensual twist, pretending in their bodies'
natural curves lies a willingness like animals to lick and rub each other
in the soft afternoon light. To thrill yourself with the imagined scent
of bodies redolent with oil and mango-colored.
And if a child's face releases a shadow,
no longer able to quiet herself with herself (what, for you, is wrong?),
to force her on to an ever deeper bliss--a nude queen lying on a green carpet,
a servant picking yellow fruit, and two old men near a large tree
discussing The Tree of Knowledge, your favorite scene.

Carol Frost is the writer in residence at Hartwick College, in Oneonta, New York. She is the author of Chimera (1990) and Pure, which was published this spring.

Copyright © 1994 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; July 1994; Thrill; Volume 274, No. 1; page 70.

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