It’s easy to find the figures

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It’s easy to find the figures
            for Manet’s Olympia
                        in Hyde Park, even
on this Thursday afternoon
in the new millennium.
 
They are glazed in light
            on the green lawn before
                        the bridal trail, its equestrian
strollers kicking up a rusty cloud
of dust. A place to see
 
And be seen, nature
            in black tie, manicured and mannered.
                        The only missing piece
is the naked girl. The French
seem to produce them
 
As other men produce cigarettes.
            Here, in this park, 20 years ago
                        my ex-wife and I argued. So let’s
make her ghost the naked girl.
She is perhaps the only naked woman
 
I know who can keep this poem
            from becoming prurient. Funny word
                        that. So now I am there in Olympia
arguing with the naked woman.
Manet is getting pissed. This is not
 
What he pictured when he began
            this painting. And I, a very pruring fellow
                        am out in front of my libido
trying to crank it up as if it were a Model T.
Still beautiful but she chills my prurience.
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