you traded coins out on the strand for
weekenders who imagined you were
a marvel of modern science
telling fortunes in a skill crane
you slaked the heartsick telling a story
tethered to a line along the breakwater slag
you sang the song of sea-swallows
painting the faces of dead lovers in oil
on the surface of spring harbor
in the autumn forest you were
nursing your baby in the river
a hunting party lighted upon you
shooting off buck-shot and coarse words
you placed your baby upon a rock
and turned into a brook horse
thundered up the steep bank and trampled
all save one into blood and broken bones
you bit into the fair youth’s chest
trotted back down to the river bank
with his heart held in your mouth
and fed it to your baby son.
your hooves splashed into the current,
fishing in the silt for fingertips and supple elbows,
speckled thighs flowing into a tail finely sewn
in the dream of seared rose petals and hot wax
with shimmering tendrils sprung from your mane
we had taken to huffing gasoline to break up the days.
i put vinyl sunglasses over your eyes and wrote
in sloppy cursive with lipstick on the lenses
reflected in my hand-maiden’s mirror.
i plied out one of your teeth
and went on a diet of limpets
plucked from bridge platforms
and the bones of the cellist
whose lungs i collapsed
to rid you of distraction.
with double-minded spite for wings
i found your doorstep sidewalk,
in the form of a gnat
i flew into your face to lick
a pearl of sweat from the channel
between your nose and coral lips.
smashed me and still
you clutch your purse.
one day the thin tissue of constraint
will burst like your eyes
when I drag you into the deep.