The Sly One

In the brown dining-room,
which was perfumed
with the scent of polish and fruit,
I was shoveling up at my ease
a plateful of some Belgian dish
or other, and sprawling in my enormous chair.

While I ate, I listened, happy and silent, to the clock.
The kitchen door opened with a gust,
and the servant girl came in,
I don't know what for,
neckerchief loose, hair dressed impishly.

And, passing her little finger tremblingly across her cheek,
a pink and white peach-bloom,
pouting with her childish mouth,
she tidied the plates standing close to me,
to make me feel comfortable; - and then, just like that,
- to get a kiss of course -
said very softly: 'Feel, then, I' got a cold in the cheek…'

by Arthur Rimbaud

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