Goat Songs (II)
the widow
Blue mornings toward August we woke to the rain
driving its weary heat down through the eaves
and across the windows. Thunder grew nearer and receded,
then coughed out its song, a foghorn taken by the fog.
Before noon, we each put down our summer reading and slept.
When the rain faltered and the sun regained its watery light,
stroking the leaves and the shiny, pummeled blades of grass,
I woke you dressed up as Cleopatra, Aphrodite, Helen.
The cottage was our stage: you played the stranger.
Silver stick, horned, tongue like a lily, you claimed me
each time more beautifully than the incarnation before.
You begged to be even a shepherd on the most distant hill
of my kingdom, declared you would risk certain death
just to touch the milk-white ankle beneath my gown.
Was it just dusk, or did the forest grower denser around us?
I touched you yes with my baton, trembled, like a newborn, in my heels.
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