A tall girl of fourteen,

short dark hair

in red short shorts

and light white blouse

pulled down off

a smooth tanned shoulder,

strode barefoot

on a sidewalk across the street,


smiled and waved at a little boy

watching her from the banister

of his front porch


I look for her in the smile

of every woman I meet


Her name was Marianne

but that wouldn’t do

so I called her Venus

after a song playing

on the radio through

the living room curtains

and she vanished into myth