In her own words...

"Rue Monge Narrated"


Up or down it, disguise and
discretion go both ways.
Indifferent to tone,
peeling paint adds cache:
patina proudly worn
as uniform.

Varnish sweats like skin
in the stair. Concierge
behind lace curtains
waits for deliverance.
Who cares if care has
stained her age?

Even spring is autumnal:
pallor of sun and leaf
on cafe table where
one tiny cup, thick and
white and brown inside,
is pushed aside

by occupant of wicker chair.
His notebook opened up,
he sees nothing much,
ballpoint hovering
like a copter over
the paper target.

Girl beside him out of
makeup like cement
looks round at nothing.
Oh, she has time, all
the time in the world
to be respectful

of whatever is on his page.
Yes, all this deadpan
afternoon yawns as, warm
and sleepy, she waits
to be wildly wildly
wanted later on.




About this work

“Rue Monge Narrated” was first published in Ploughshares, Vol. 28, no. 4 (Winter 2002-03), pp. 184-185,  and was included in American Poet: The Journal of the Academy of American Poets, Spring 2003, p. 23, in conjunction with "Still Time: A Note on Dorothea Tanning's Poems" by Richard Howard, pp. 20-21.

“Rue Monge Narrated” is also included in Dorothea Tanning's book, A Table of Content: Poems, New York: Graywolf Press, 2004, pp. 55-56, and may not be reprinted without the publisher's permission.