On a Toilet Wall in Budapest

Screen_shot_2017-12-05_at_08.50.24by Patrick Howse03 Nov 2017

I stand and deliver
Before ancient photographs
Of gorgeous women
In stages of undress.

Right before me dark eyes
Shine with a decadence
That felled the Habsburgs;
In this frozen instant

The warm full breasts
Draped in a tumbling shift
Promise a soft embrace,
And I fall a little in love.

I wonder if she succumbed
To Spanish ‘flu or syphilis,
Or to something filthier,
Like war, or fascism.

I look at her forever
Lovely, forever young
And see how well
Her image became her.