As my wife buys our daughter her first bra
I wait beside the escalator
with our packages from Sears and J.C. Penney’s,
and think of what Balthus meant
when he denied the erotic in his paintings—
who saw only the pubescent form
in its undevelopment, whether nude before a mirror
or clothed, reading, one leg over an armchair;
to which one critic argues
Balthus invites the viewer to complete such content,
the dreaminess of adolescence
whose adventures are in daydreaming, in reading book
or in listening to the radio
while waiting for the real adventures to begin 
(hopeful, and therefore innocent —
which Balthus thought his content—
because they do not yet know what it is that we know).
No, there is nothing of the erotic
in the awkward adolescent leaning forward on her elbow,
in her skirt, reading a newspaper on the floor,
or in the girl, asleep, spread-eagled on a chaise
and her cat lapping from a bowl of milk.