Kimiko Hahn reads

On Being Coy

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Many fish in the murky ocean caves
of Mexico, Brazil, Croatia, and Oman

have no eyes
though in the streams outside—

clear as a frat bar in ‘75—

other males zip around and nip the females

to test chemical signals
and harass

with so much sex

that the females often cease to exist.
Better off

with a slower, blind suitor

I say—then think of Marvell’s rough strife—
which I adore.

See—a little coyness can work
to cloud the current.

Those black lizard boots instead of mules—
that Manhattan tourist spot.

He’s twenty-five. I’m forty.
He demands one thing—well, two: my feet.

See what I mean?
Little has changed in the carpe diem
or the simmering transparent stream.