The night unleashes dissonant music,
wind raucous with eucalyptus, pines
that batter to and fro like blades of grass,
as apples in the orchard thump the earth,
and deer hooves scamper through the underbrush—
a night ripe for the madness of King Lear,
or a father whose daughter, at sixteen,
is no longer a virgin, and who wants me
ignorant still, for all the reasons daughters heed.
Think how Prospero conjured and punished
the Caliban who accosted his daughter,
colonial babblings of a sex-crazed sire.
How Desdemona's dad shrieked and railed
at the hot news about Venice—a black ram
now tupping his white ewe. And yet, my daughter,
none of these plays capture me tonight.
For me, there's just the sighs of Pericles,
so far from his kingdom, deep in his fears,
who finds his long-lost daughter floating
the mists of years, unreal as a dream
or music that arouses the still air;
as still she moves more solidly now
into his arms and vanishing flesh.
The bleeding's done. O my dear, let me bow.
The Last Incantations
Triquarterly Books / Northwestern University Press