August 2017

She shared with me a secret photograph
where, in her former wedding dress, she stood,

arms twisted high behind her shoulder blades
and tied together to a pole above.

Thus—barefoot, bent, begowned in virgin white,
roped tight from throat to ankle, breasts ensnared—

—I first mistook her for a sacrifice
condemned to pacify some island god.

Yet when I saw the flame within those eyes,
the mouth’s defiant curl, I understood:

though she was bound alone for primal shores,
she sailed as neither slave nor prisoner

but as the ship itself. A figurehead
of flesh, no mast above, no hull behind.

A goddess of the rigging, canvas-clad,
face to the stinging spray with canines bared.
— From The Chimeriad. 14 August 2017.