Allure – by Andrew Vogel

She’s heard that people sometimes hook up in laundromats,
but she’s only ever gotten abstracted gazes, hard glares, some leers,
never a number.

The circuitries fizzle with mistruths—nothing like an eye to an eye.

Carly’s not the kind of pretty that tickles impetus. She owns it.
Tomorrow is a room down the hall where something is happening.

Tonight though
across the rows of chugging machines, the disorder of public use, she
catches the eye of a smart looking posture pushing a wet pile into a drier.

She knows that when she ambles over to her machine his attention
will drag from his tablet to her hips,
and she’s then pleased to find
that he is not so polite as to fold his eyes.

Not shy, not desperate, not handsome, he shows that he will take
all her initiative.

While she’s deciding his clothes finish drying. He’s sorting and folding,

nimbly spreading and turning a slip of tangerine satin,

light bruises yet flourishing there on his wrists.

Hurt and harm are a pagan union—deliciousness, damage.
One obsessed, one conspiring escape,

both showing the way bodies are changed into other bodies.

She feels him holding her lightly  with his eyes as she fumbles

through everything she can first admit,
to herself,

for the look she will return,

lifting her gaze

from somebody’s pretty ruffle.

Note: The lines in the middle of the poem about bodies turning into other bodies is a strongly implicit borrowing of phrasings coming from two translations of Ovid’s Metamorphosis by David Raeburn and Ted Hughes.

Andrew Vogel listens, walks the hills, and teaches in rural eastern Pennsylvania, homelands of the displaced Lenape peoples. His poems have appeared most recently in Poetry East, Hunger Mountain, Crab Creek Review, and The Briar Cliff Review.