[from Deborah Digges's The Wind Blows Through the Doors of My Heart, Knopf, 2010]
Dance of the Seven Veils
I did not pick one violet
this year nor place each small bouquet
in little china pitchers
shaped like flutes or doves.
But hid among the dandelions,
long fields of green and dandelions,
islands of gold.
Oh my sirens, my harbingers of spring.
And since I'm not Odysseus
and unafraid, my small boat sallied sideways
on the sand.
They came in droves to greet me.
I took my sisters' faces in my hands.
We crept the cliffs and sang the peasant's clock,
a rainbow locked, diphthong of lust,
voices outrun the holy.
And thus we called the mighty in.
And true indeed, unfaithful every one –
the men – and who could blame them?
We were so beautiful, the very center of us edible,
our lion hair, our leaf-like swords,
all of us swinging lanterns,
dancing the dance of the Pleiades,
the seven sisters weaving silk out of our stories,
dance of the seven veils.
They thought of us – imagine -
their korasions, their robber brides.
Possessed they were and we would have it so.
And when the men, they stayed
too long, when we grew tired of them –
each fat in love, drunk on our milky wine,
we let our hair shriek white,
the filaments that shine like fog
over a dawn sea, sparks at sunrise,
ready we were to just be old again and bald.
We shook our heads, let go the seeds,
slid fast and empty to the underworld.
But as they slept across the decks,
half in, half out of hammocks, ransacked the hulls,
we did, repaired their masts.
And heaved their ships to other oceans.