A poem by Jessica Murakami, second place winner,
The College Alumni Society Poetry Prizes, 2002


On her back porch, he stands
in the dark peering in,
delighted at seeing her there
in the light. His excitement rising
as she tugs
her long gown away
from her generous body, how it settles
back against her skin in a sigh.
They share this time together, perhaps
the only two people awake
for miles.
If he had been there, hours before,
he would have seen a husband gazing
curiously, at his wife with her shirt held open,
her large breasts two
moving stories before her, still
surprising to gaze upon.

As it is, the man must watch
quietly, feet wide
apart, hands clenched in pockets
until even the most insignificant detail about her
is more striking to him
than any other silent memory, her thick
black hair
more painful to consider than years
of female indifference.
He can feel his cheek against the glass, already
half in love with her.
It is a real effort to pull
back from this ordinary house, this
exotic creature. So hard
to move stealthily to other distant windows
filled with other, lesser imitations.