“I count/ myself/ a perfect/ stone of/ heaven,/ a park/ without/ a gate…” ~ D. Bonta

The woman picks out a dress, a scarf— blue
paisley, beaded, wispy— and tries it on.
Blake said see with not through the eye

so she doesn’t believe what the mirror says,
is dubious of the moon that always works
itself free of the branches, flood-lighting

the room like a stage. She doesn’t think
the spangles on the fabric are enough
to tide her through the evening,

though she knows they aren’t meant to.
She has been taught where the gaze goes,
the heart is supposed to follow.

But it takes years, a lifetime even,
before the body feels it can stand,
exposed like any ordinary flower

to the air, frayed, imperfect, unlike
the stones that guard the doors
of heaven— And how do we know

that every tree knotted with whorls
was not once a girl, running, mouth open
by the river, away or toward her new life?


In response to Via Negativa: Maypole.

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