“Zion-ah,
I’ve got to have Zion-ah,
I’ve got to have Zion-ah
For the rain is falling”
                —Bob Marley 

Marley was rocking on the transport’s stereo
and the beauty was humming the choruses quietly.
I could see where the lights on the planes of her cheek
streaked and defined them, if this were a portrait
you’d leave the highlights for last, these lights
silkened her black skin, I’d have put in an earring,
something simple, in good gold, for contrast, but she
wore no jewelry. I imagined a powerful and sweet
odor coming from her, as from a still panther,
and the head was nothing else but heraldic.
When she looked at me, then away from me politely
because any staring at strangers is impolite,
it was like a statue, like a black Delacroix’s
“Liberty Leading The People,” the gently bulging
whites of her eyes, the carved ebony mouth,
the heft of the torso solid, but a woman’s,
but gradually all of that was going in the dusk,
except the line of her profile, and the highlit cheek,
and I thought, O Beauty, you are the light of the world!