A mask sits on a table outdoors under a brightly lit sky

The prettiest girl I ever dated
had perfected the art
of laughing without smiling
so we broke up
and I passed through
the young man’s
rite of passage
of realizing
that the important things about women
aren’t things you can see.

When I was young
I wanted the shapeliest
woman in the world
with jewel lips
who understood demure seduction
but since then I’ve learned
that the best woman
is one who is intrigued
by sitting on the patio
listening to Coltrane
and talking about the rising stars
as we all remove our veils.