MANNERS FOR GENTLEMEN
A gentleman should never question a lady’s poems.
A gentleman always pours wine for a lady
so that the fire under her skin
will not set the alcohol ablaze.
A gentleman always precedes a lady into a crowd
to shield the innocent
from the power of her gaze.
A gentleman always seizes his hatbrim when a lady passes
so that the whirlwind that follows her
will not carry it off into the street.
A gentleman always opens a door for a lady
so that she may have her sword arm free
to vanquish the villans lurking behind.
(This is also why he carries her packages.)
A gentleman always walks on the streetside of a lady
so that she may, with a white-gloved finger,
tap into place any loose bricks
in the foundations of civilization.
A gentlemen always follows a lady into a carriage
so that he will not be in the way
if she must stun the driver, seize the reins,
and gallop resolutely toward the invading hordes.
ATLANTA REVIEW, fall 2008