Pale Babylon

We stalked the stainless Aphrodite of
New York, but what we really wanted was
a night or two of unrequited love
to set our clocks back, all of this because
the cup was empty—empty, not half full
or anything like that, but simply empty.
Since we were eager to maintain our cool,
a modest prospect such as this was tempting,
to say the least. We packed our bags and took
a bus to Newark, hoping to explore
the city's underside and maybe book
a reservation with the fabled whore
who worked the Jersey coast. Atlantic City
was where our gamble paid a dividend,
for it was there we found her, less than pretty,
but pretty willing to effect the end
we had in mind. Her stockings were a maze
of runs, her shoes were scuffed and much too tight,
the dress she wore had seen some better days,
and her complexion couldn't've stood the light
of morning. Even so, we all confessed
desire to storm her port in any storm,
and though not one of us has once undressed
her, thoughts of doing so still keep us warm.

—C. B. Anderson, Maynard, MA