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
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
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:
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,
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
to see if we could pick it out
together in the weeping
the song of one dun-
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.
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.