XXVI. Baudelaire’s Redhead (first posted 1-25-13)

In place of rags for clothes
Let a majestic robe
Trail in its bustling pleats
Down to your feet

One imagines her many ways, but most of all besieged; playing music, looking at her feet to avoid any gaze, knowing that, should she look up and meet an eye, she may inadvertently make an invitation. She covers up her beauty best she can, wears clogs and patchwork clothes to hide it. Still, it stalks her in the light and in the darkness, and when she retreats to her den at night, just outside the city, she has to look over her shoulders, just to make sure that none of the libertine poets have been following her with sonnets in their heads and an urge to fulfill. The walls she builds are never thick enough, no matter how much she camouflages the façade, makes it appear run-down, worn out, still the bandits and the poets who think they’re not bandits and the bandits who think they’re poets make their assaults. She’s given gifts, and sometimes she’s even grateful for the gifts, and her castellier soul appreciates occasionally being able to lay down its arms. But she waits eagerly for the day when her face is too haggard, too racked with age to be fodder for the brood of poets and artists. Then she’ll wear, even with pride, the gifts that they gave her when she was young.

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