Marne Wilson

A Beautiful German Woman

It started my first morning in Berlin.
Standing in the hotel elevator, a German man behind me,
I looked straight ahead with American reserve,
only to see our reflections in the mirrored door.
He was gazing frankly at my bottom
as if it were the Mona Lisa.
I expected something to follow from this--
a pick-up line, a wolf whistle, maybe even a little pinch.

But when we reached the bottom floor,
we went our separate ways,
both of our days a little brighter,
with no messy entanglements or expectations.

I started noticing this everywhere—
in restaurants, at the zoo, in the mall.
Men looked at me as if seeing a rare and beautiful butterfly,
but then were content to move on,
leaving nothing behind but the traces of their admiration.

I went to Germany an ugly duckling
and came back a beautiful German swan.
Now I will paddle proudly down the Hocking,
and if I am the only swan there,
that will only increase my value.

Marne Wilson grew up in North Dakota and now lives in West Virginia.  Her poems have appeared in such places as Poetry EastAtlanta Review, and Sweet Tree Review.  She is the author of a chapbook, The Bovine Daycare Center (Finishing Line, 2015).