And if I rise from beds to walk
on brilliant yellow leaf:
And if the one who huddles in
so timid warm and brief
is the one who found me after all
and called me into life:
how thank those woolen feet I held
in service to their wife?
But walk a little further
where the gray clouds shear away,
and blinding silver pours
out into dawn of day.
I'd thought of Venus
and of Vulcan, and of interlocking doors--
but I had thought that Venus
had loaned me to her friend,
to spread her skin with orange oil,
as comfort at the end.
(For even splendid husbands die by afternoon,
and skin longs for a stroking hand,
and the long dark evening calls
for cradling when it can.)
No. It it is the little one,
whose candelabra formed
of pukel men with hollow eyes
was seldom lit or warmed:
She struck the match and named
me, and I was bound to come:
bound to receive her fingerprints
in the wet clay of my palms.