I met a girl who I was surprised to find myself talking to, attracted to, my heart swimming, my palms warm, surprised to be wanting her. I had given up the ghost of love, just in time to see it rising; the moon and the sun sitting high in the sky in the morning, the casual standing around by the stairwell; I stared at her from across a room when I could, enchanted, and when she looked right back at me I looked away, after a lofty delay, and then one time I winked at her, and when I did, she almost laughed. I ask her for her name and then I repeat her name in my head for the rest of the day, and too the day after; I say, Marilyn, Marilyn, Marilyn; and imagine the things I could say to her, would like to say to her, the ways to make her laugh. When I am laughing, she laughs, and I have certainly gotten her attention. I think I really have her attention, now, and I think that I’ll talk to her, that maybe she’ll throw down her hair for me, she’ll walk with me under the dogwoods, maybe we’ll be holding hands, as we walk under the dogwood trees, slowly, clothing blowing in the wind. I imagine Marilyn and I, together, watching a movie, and I, describing the movie, and then, as it grows late, with moony eyes and moistened lips, we press ourselves closer together, and we sleep, while the night presses in through the thin and prismatic panes… It is winter, still, but winter never came this year, and the weather is golden and warm, the colors are saturated, prescient and grand, and I feel like I’m full of strength, watery strength, the water of life on the riptide. It may as well be springtime, the birds are all laughing and having a ball, and people are starting to feel strangely affectionate again, like its springtime; and I with my bouquet of marigolds stand waiting for my doll to meet me, feeling strangely affection, as though I were some years much younger, yet some years much older in love; dashing through the night to see her, checking my watch while I wait for the train; under the awning, outside of the store, as they turn the streetlights on, buying something nice, for pleasure; on top of the balcony, drinking a bottle of wine at our leisure, not afraid of the world nor each other, and never afraid of the night… Marilyn, now that we’re at last together, it is time that I showed you the world; and life carries on, as good as it could have ever gone; on a plane, on a ship, in the ocean; in a room at the Scotsman, the publisher’s suite, overlooking the bridge; a brunch in a museum of art; the places we could go, the things that we could do together; the things that I could say to you; the pieces we could put together, the pictures we could make; I would miss you, were you gone! Marilyn, Marilyn, let down your long hair – it weakens me, I blush and I smile and the blood in my veins boils red. Do you like me, herewith, weakened? Or should I stand – like this – and raise my head up – like this – and lift you off your feet – like this – and spin you, through the upper circle of love, the annals of romance and fantasy; I have marched, alone, through these annals, but I shall march alone no more; for I have met a woman, a girl that I call Marilyn, and together we will see the world – and then I will show her the rest of creation, and the way that the universe works. If I sound conceited, it is because I have grown confident, and I know too well to never temper confidence, lest it falters, slips away, and spoils. If I am confident, it is because I have fallen in love with a woman, and a woman has fallen in love with me.