Teresa Leo: Online Dating

A year of surfing the profiles, where the men
look for women the way women shop for shoes—

ordering their size in a variety of styles:
slingback, hook & loop, stiletto, the most

impractical ones with points at the toes
not built for a human foot, but the excitement

of how they look in pictures, images
that can be scaled up to examine the make,

the workmanship, the alternative views that show
all the angles, how they look with a dress,

with jeans, then the thrill of the box
arriving at the door, the couture packaging,

until, finally, inside the fancy wrapping,
disappointment, just an ordinary pair of shoes

that pinch, the claustrophobia of them,
with an edge awareness that presses in,

each step a bullet to the brain, and though
there’s a brief thought of taking them out

on the town for a fancy dinner, or at least
to a bar for a game of pool, they rarely get past

the front door, their value already diminished,
the cost too high, the shape not elegant enough,

no room in the closet, and they are reboxed
and sent back with a little less care

than the way they came in. Within minutes
of their return, they are easily forgotten,

and it’s back online to find something else,
something that’s less Sunday in the park

and more Bangkok at night, something
that promises to stand out in a crowd,

some version of it, and in this way,
there will be many new arrivals,

introduced to compete each new season,
last year’s styles removed or clicked past,

no arch or heel high enough, and for each
new arrival, for each dazzling possibility,

an equal but opposite, brilliantly fit,
stunningly sensible departure.

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