Portrait, with Daughters & Constellation

There were years they disappeared

into the loamy caverns of rooms,

their beds piled with comforters

& unfolded clothes, gum wrappers

in the depths of backpacks,

hair bouquets in hairbrushes,

earrings with missing pairs.

Sometimes light was a lure,

other times an intrusion.

They went in, angular

& bristly; mercurial,

most spectacular when ill-

at-ease. When they emerged,

their legs were smooth

from foam & shavers;

their jaws, set in a line

sleek as the edges of smart-

phones. You couldn't pluck

a lyre to bribe them from

the depths, but you waited

for that time in the future

when they'd look at the night

sky & finally recognize how

Cassiopeia was both right

side up & upside down; when one

day, they might see you wandering

the frozen fields—alone & still

in search of ransom.

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