Liquid alignment of fabric and outer
                                       thigh. Slip.
Which mimics the thing it’s meant to allow.

of air on either side of the tongue whose meat
                                       as if
to thicken the likeness of substance and sound
                                       meets just

that plot of upper palate behind the teeth.
                                       And yet  
at normal speed the very aptness loses its full

“Salomé was wearing red pumps and the palest of
                                       pale blue
satin slips.” I would in my predictable girlhood
                                       have much

preferred a word I took to be scented like Giverny:
was wearing red pumps and a pale blue satin

It’s taken me all this time to hear the truer
which only wants a little lingering in the mouth
                                       to summon how it

thinks about the contours of the body. So the
                                       speed of it—
slip—and the lingering can resume their proper tug-
                                       of-war. The boy

they’d had the wit to cast as Salomé, both nude
                                       and may-as-well-be-
nude, was every inch presentable, flawless, as
                                       though one

might live in the body and feel no shame. No
forced to endure as they did the reek of the tidal
                                       Thames, our

predecessors took this for the universal object of
The history of the English stage right there in the
                                       slippage between not-
quite and already over and gone. And yes I
the part about predation the grooming in all of its
                                       sordid detail,

I was never half so fair as this but fair enough
                                       to have been
fair game. In a town with limited options.
                                       I’ve spent

more than half my life trying to rid myself
                                       of aftermath
so let me be enchanted now. Youth at a safe

Copyright © 2019 by Linda Gregerson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 12, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.