We spend such agony labeling the blush,
    Imposing guilt behind those ruddy cheeks.
    Embarrassment, we say, and its sudden rush

    Of crimson to the face must (we suspect) speak

    Out some vital secret, the moment when

    Confession lets loose a woman’s awkward sin,
    And hearing it aloud, her skin goes red, more thin.

    But really all this business over flush

    Stems from the wind; I’m cold, then hot; I blush.

    Embarrassment, all this talk of emotion,

    It’s nothing but a simple contraction

    Of capillaries which dermatologists

    Who – I remind you – are not psychologists
    Call vasodilatation. There, the reason.


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