the startle reaction

now my first instinct is to keep my eyes away
middle distance is the safest gaze
sort of talk around her
keep a little barrier-bubble in place

but at the same time I’m wondering
why do that
what does it matter if I loosen up a bit
check out the eyes and the bod
offer a sparkle of my own
pull the belly in
adopt a wise tone
watch what happens

see there’s years of conditioning
behind an encounter like that
all those years of being spoken for
and a non-contestant
come into the play
rules of engagement have been forgotten aeons ago
it’s a scary situation

she seems nice enough
anxious to make contact
fresh arrival on the scene
it feels good to laugh with someone new
to make little decisions
how much information to share
what re-invention of myself to enact
to stay awhile and drink it all up
it’s not so bad really
an unburdening

but that first reaction
is to shiver and shake
like a startled rabbit caught in the headlights
my word yes
sooner or later
I need to do some work on that

© Frank Prem, 2002

2 thoughts on “the startle reaction

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