Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine poet laureate.

Today’s poem by Alice Persons of Westbrook describes the mysterious and elusive man just beyond a woman’s grasp.

The man in front of you

By Alice Persons

is just tall enough

has soft black hair

and golden skin

wide shoulders

and smells good

you stand behind him

in the movie line

or buying flowers on boylston street

or see him on the subway

not far down the car

his clean brown hands

on the overhead rail

the man in front of you

could have just killed someone

or might have a bitter face

may love no one

or always sleep alone

the man in front of you

hurries out of the station

or rushes around the corner

and vanishes into a cab

you never see his face

but in dreams he comes to you

and does not slip away

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2011 Alice Persons. Reprinted from “Thank Your Lucky Stars,” Moon Pie Press, 2011, by permission of Alice Persons.