I saw a man flirting with a girl behind a desk
Leaned over to suggest the casual amid a careful pose

I wanted to hate him for it, lips curled silently
For I envied him that pose, that desk, that woman

(For she seemed lovely and intelligent, in as much
As observation suffices for such qualities)

But I could not

For I have too often been leaned over that desk
A thousand, ten thousand of its sister desks

Striking the same too-obvious pose
Fumbling for the same words

Listening without listening
Smiling without smiling

A mirror’s brutal truth

The same hollow act, the same hallowed act
I saw myself in him, and my ideal in her

I left them be without a word, a sound, a gesture
Not with hate, but with hope

I hope he has better fortune than I
I hope this desk will be his last leaning

Lean no more, my brother; lean no more

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