Today we saw a peacock behind a chain-link fence. He had his tail all fanned out, trying to get the attention of a completely indifferent peahen. He rattled his tail at her a few times, like a man in a sports car gunning the motor when a pretty woman walks by--Look at me! Hey! Pretty lady! Over here! Look! Hey!
When she passed him by, he did a long and elaborate peacock dance for Adam and me, no doubt hating for his dazzling charm to go to waste, and appreciating at least having an appreciative audience. His tail spread above him like a stained-glass saint's halo in a Romanesque cathedral. He faced us, glittering, and then, with deliberate, precise steps, turned in a full circle, showing us the slivered profile of the splendid fan, the almost-hidden wings folded along the back, the incongruously fluffy, ducklinglike bottom. He turned back to us and stood statue-still, allowing us to admire him. He turned in another circle full, slow circle, in the opposite direction this time.
We made fun of him a little on the way home, because of how much he seemed to enjoy the attention, because of his comical failure to interest the hen. But I still can't get over how incredibly gorgeous he was, like a burlesque dancer, like a god with a hundred eyes, slowly fanning the drab, gaping humans with the transformative heat of his beauty.