Repetitions, on a daisy

 

Love me not

for looks or money. Not

 

for my golden hair,

said Godiva as she turned

 

to face the crowd. Said Rapunzel

as her prince climbed

 

closer, closer.

Love me now

 

said the very first boyfriend;

his fingers slid like garter snakes

 

through dewy grass.

Do you love me? I asked you

 

and you said I asked

too much.

 

Bring me your wishes,

three wishes, cried

 

the fisherman’s wife in her meagre

hut. When his last wish

 

had been squandered,

love me anyway, she said. And don’t we all

 

say? as we stumble to the boarding gate

with rumpled clothes, bad

 

memories. We pause beneath the sign:

Domestic Baggage.

 

Love me

anyway, we say.

 

Love me not

for my sparkling eyes,

 

not for how my small hand fits

your large one, says the child

 

spinning away from the carousel lights.

She plugs in her earphones,

 

adolescence

springing open like a knife.

 

Don’t stop, she calls over her shoulder.

Don’t you stop loving me ... now.

 

                        *

 

Did you know? I would have gone with you

to the grove

 

down by the river

(does the river

 

have a prescience

of brine?)

 

to see if we could pick it out

together in the weeping

 

elm ...

the song of one dun-

 

coloured bird

among the others. A reedy song

 

through time. If you love me at all

I would have told you, love me for this,

 

for this, which I can never really know

I have. Or am.

Mermaids Wearing Fishnet Stockings

                        (or ... the limitations of subtlety)

 

I will be born again as a country singer

with great legs.

                                    —Bronwen Wallace

 

Subtlety: It’s a roll it on your tongue kind of pleasure.

Precise. And only just enough. An instrument

of intelligence. Or measure of. Can be the dab of cologne

at the base of a throat. The orange in your Grand Marnier.

Delicious. But I wouldn’t want to live in that neighbourhood

all the time. Imagine those blocks of square and spacious lawn.

All those decorator colours. And quilts hanging long-faced

on walls where no one’s ever snuggled under. Bronwen Wallace,

in her poems about Emmylou Harris, said in Emmylou’s

songs you can hear at least two busloads of church choirs.

Bronwen. She cracked me open so I can tell you who I really am.

Ariella somebody. Or Carmelita. Rose of Sharon. Ave Maria.

Or Annie May. I dress in cowboy boots, black velvet capes

and silver dragons, soft full skirts and faded jeans. I know

there’ll never be a better way to say, ‘”My heart is broken.”

I’m a girl who gave up loving princesses long ago, won’t

let go of witches, am starting to know crones. The band

will play Will the Circle Be Unbroken at my funeral,

plucking steel strings    that weep for mermaids

wearing fishnet stockings, sing with angels

hanging Monday wash.

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