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Contributor: Susie Gharib

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He looked askance at my supervisor's door.
I told him she’d be back in an hour or so,
As I walked past him down the narrow corridor.

He stood transfixed as if mesmerized
By my chestnut hair, my candid eyes,
Viewing me with the cutest mouth
On which presided a half-formed smile.

I do not recall how he invaded my life.
He belonged to a different academic tribe
But veered allegiance to my sacrosanct site!

We went for walks down the river Clyde.
With modest French he paused to describe
What Mallarme wrote of refracted lights.

His addiction to see me grew out of control.
He pinned a word-effigy on my study's door,
Every time he came but found me not.

I grew uneasy at his errant darts.
He captivated my mind, but not my heart.
The patter of rift echoed in my mind.

One evening he spotted a date amongst
A pile of letters I was sorting out,
February the thirteenth ruffled his brows.

He said it must have been a Valentine's,
I said: 'Indeed, a Mr. Wilde's,
The father of my illegitimate child.'

He stared at me in dire disbelief
But knew me incapable of deceit.
My tale crackled with new-spun deeds.

His visits eventually petered out.
My tarnished image had drenched his sparks.
I thought it better than breaking his heart.
Or perhaps it cracked.

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Susie Gharib is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde with a Ph.D. on the work of D.H. Lawrence. Since 1996, she has been lecturing in Syria. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in various magazines.


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