Florence Ladd: First Gaze

She averted her eyes, sharply turned her head
“Tell me when he stops looking at me,” she said.

 A sultry August afternoon at the town’s outdoor café
the boy, seated with his parents at a table nearby,

amazed, the 12 year old stared, his eyes
stretched wide, an arrowlike aim on her profile;

finally he blinked, returned to his coke
and to parents unaware of his sudden attraction.

“He’s stopped,” I said to our Maya,
a 10 year old Venus-in-progress.

In a voice cracked like her innocence, she said,
“How old were you the first time that happened?”

What was a grandmother to say – the truth?
“I was never beautiful, never as beautiful as you.”