They say that men
who are a little maladroit
make better lovers.
Actually, nobody says that
except moi,
when I want to improve my chances
of having a petite affaire.

I used that line on Françoise
in the captain’s lounge when,
with one dismissive geste,
I spilled a glass of
Château Haut Lafitte
on her chic white dress,
leaving a stain the size of

I suggested we adjourn
to her private stateroom,
where she could,
I hinted,
change into something
more recherché
and test my adage
about clumsiness and love.
Mais oui, Cheri, she said
and pressed my hand.

Professing la timidité
she insisted that I disrobe first
and when my back was turned,
she kicked ajar the cabin door.

Go ahead ami and laugh.
since you’re the one who found me
cowering behind a lifeboat
a poil, like the baby,
You’ve probably figured out by now
what happened next.

Just keep it to yourself.

There’s a hundred euros for you
if you go collect my clothes.

(originally published in Parable Press)



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