You said you were afraid always, all the time,
and yet you play it like a matador, you make it
plunge this way first and that, and then
you stand tip-toe -- at the last --your shimmering edge held high --
Oh, you uncoil as if you had a millions limbs, or none --
glistening black, oh you dear segmented woman
(how you fold into my arms, as if each limb
was made only to nestle in some hollow of my flesh;
and how you flare your supple, beaded wings:
they open like a huge intake of breath.)
Your heart is cased in oiled leather,
and leather frames the love lock on your cheek.
The blue square window lets in winter light --
beetle-shapes of mercury --
to crawl and skip and trace
the contours of your iliac crest and thigh.