Friday, January 19, 2007

The Mask

Around the corner from princes
and chambermaids, past
dripping clocks and sharded
women, behind spilled paint
and blue squares, a whistle

wanders. Banished from ungloved
hands and kiss of men, the mask
wails, lonesome for spirits of her dead
dancers. Kept in a glass box, uprooted
woman-hair black as mussel
string, halos unfaded bloody lips,
and sly all-seeing eyes. Caught

by grieving ghosts
of soft-chewed cedar cords
that once swung cradles full
of futures passed, she begs
to be left on some un-sunned
stump, licked by deer
drawn to salt of a hundred dancers,
plucked bald by nesting birds,
and eventually digested

by the small unknowns
of forest life.