Animals

Serpentinata

by Calypso Jewel

 

Yeatsswan 1

if you thought Leda

could not defend herself from a swan

you didn’t understand

 

how a woman loves

a god who comes

as something other than a man

a shower

from a single cloud lingering above her lap

or to the one ashamed to admit her craving

a bull

downy as a wedding dress.

 

I knew a man like you once

who wished aloud to extend himself

into the ears of strangers and vanish

before one could praise or inquire

poison

or birdsong?

 

He resembled a cloud

that trailed wherever I went

shaping himself into different animals.

 

You

I said pointing a fingerswan2

tell me how to evaporate

and join you in the sky

which looked willing

a canvas

to paint my body across

the kind of place lovers turn into snowflakes

a million ways to be oneself

and fall

and lay across the limbs of trees

an inhuman feat, melting

 

asleep as a snake at daytime

Or let us twine together on the grass

yearning to enter each other

scraping our backs on rocks

abandoning our dead skin

while some woman looks on

in her virgin’s dress.

 

Why do you ask me these questions

he said

suspecting I had no form of my own

not even a cloud’s.

 

Married to a man

who enjoyed his power and expected

many children when I did not

want his

all I could think was, How soft

 

this neck against my lips

his pulse near my throat

and that rushing

waterfall sound

a moist breath on my earlobe

 

to love as irresistible as biting

into a newly plucked apple.

I opened my knees

and thrust my hips forward

and thought,

Enter Stranger

and I didn’t care that his feet were cold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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