The Scholar’s Off-World Girlfriend

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.

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