The Petrov Poems: Snake (Lesley Lebkowicz)

Dusya knows she looks good. Western clothes
flirt with her hips and breasts while her blonde hair
curls like a film star’s. She sees how men look.
(They may look – but no more).
With each greedy glance her power swells.
Wives dislike her. Their husbands’ lust is hers
to spend – if she chooses. The big flowers on her dress
make her look so delicate.

The Ambassador’s eyes glide over her.
(All the Embassy knows his last secretary
did more than type).
But when he smooths his hand over Dusya’s hips
she wheels around. She’s a snake: a viper,
an asp – she hisses him to his dark place.