Sidewalk Poem #14

Men I'm Not Married To

 No matter where my route may lie,
 No matter whither I repair,
 In brief – no matter how or why
 Or when I go, the boys are there.
 One lane and byway, street and square,
 On alley, path and avenue,
 They seem to spring up everywhere--
 The men I am not married to.

 I watch them as they pass me by;
 At each in wonderment I stare,
 And “But for heaven's grace,” I cry,
 “There goes the guy whose name I'd bear!”
 They represent no species rare,
 They walk and talk as others do;
 They're fair to see—but only fair--
 The men I am not married to.

 I'm sure that to a mother's eye
 Is each potentially a bear;
 But though at home they rank ace-high,
 No change of heart could I declare.
 Yet worry silvers not their hair;
 They deck them not with sprigs of rue.
 It's curious how they do not care--
 The men I am not married to.

 In fact, if they'd a chance to share
 Their lot with me, a lifetime through,
 They'd doubtless tender me the air--
 The men I am not married to.

-Dorothy Parker

[Walker Evans (1929) Girl in Fulton Street.]

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