That’s an exaggeration. There’s only one live girl upstairs, and she barely moves. Instead, the students move around her in the life drawing class, dragging their easels, so from downstairs it sounds like children pulling heavy wagons without wheels. Downstairs, the invited luminary is trying to recite poetry about death, but constantly stopping because of the screeching of easels from above, which may remind her of fingernails on a chalkboard, of an episode when the class clown erased her sonnet from the board— a piece about a dying horse which the young poet sensed, even then, formed the germ of her oeuvre. But this is conjecture, and further distraction from the luminary now darkening the stage, the fright wig she is above the podium growing more frightening as she glares up at the ceiling, as if her wrath could bring it down. She does not bring the house down. Her arsenal includes death and more death— child’s play compared with the live girl upstairs, the girl with fleshy folds, nose ring, a lizard tattoo you’d swear not fit for refrigerator art but which, on her, becomes unspeakably alluring, as the students, circling, edge nearer, the way two newlywed brides, holding hands and cell phone cameras, having driven all night from Nice to Paris, advance on the Mona Lisa. Like us, they’ve heard: come close enough to the bullet- proof glass and you can see breath fogging the case’s interior. You can take a picture of it. But this is a case of mistakenly talking about the Mona Lisa and French brides and the live girl in lieu of focusing on the famous poet, who abhors distraction, unless it involves looking away from the wan vase of irises into her own eyes, which are watering as they recite her swan song of irises, a bouquet she’s slaughtered by merest mention. Meanwhile, the live girl scratches her nose, the teacher closes the window (more noise), and the Monday night class advances its easels in a circular fashion around her, the way the restaurant atop the Hyatt Regency rotated beneath its blue glass dome in ’67, when that blue dome was the Atlanta skyline, before a whole glass forest grew up around it. This too is a diversion, but my father took me there, to lunch at the Polaris, decades before we’d ever tasted loss, and I’d like to take you there, to where I placed a sugar packet on the ledge at the edge of the table, and after an hour of oyster Po-boys, Coca-Colas, Take the “A” Train, and a dizzying vista, the table had returned to that packet. I want to believe we’re on a journey that returns us to sweetness. I want to believe that when the famous poet insists she will never read here again, she means it. This is a humble venue, painted a deep, strange green and she cannot compete with the ruckus even one live girl, barely moving, makes, as even now, after the girl’s left the room for a cigarette break in a blue kimono, the students close their eyes, re-position their easels and try, with charcoal stubs, to approximate that glowing.