The Scholar’s Off-World Girlfriend
by Marge Simon
He kept his hands in his pockets when
they met, as if she might be contagious.
They walked a way, stopping at the bridge
to watch the fish perform a shadowy ballet.
Over coffee, he told her she had pretty hair.
He sat on the rug in her apartment,
sipping mulled wine and talking ideas
softly and painfully slow, as if she
were only providing a space for him
to address her ornamental pillows.
She plucked lint balls from his sweater,
told him she was here if he needed her,
responded to his references to Hegel,
the endless Nietzsche quotes, was silent
when he gazed off nobly, so infused
with words and wisdom, more than she
should tolerate, but she loved the way
he smelled, his eyes, his helpless honesty.
Though she was light years brighter, galaxies
beyond him, she never let him know.