The marsh rotates more slowly
than the rest of the planet does.
If you pose on its frozen surface
long enough your makeup
will toughen and protect you
against the wrinkles, ruffles, sighs
no one mistakes for flattery.
I know you fear the ice will crack
and dunk you into shallows
the color of mildew and mold.
But you weigh less than papier-mâché,
your body tuned and disciplined
to flatter landscapes you claim
the way Patton claimed the Rhine.
The marsh belongs to you not
by deed but by mode of thought,
a place neither land nor water
but vivid with evolution.
You’d be happy standing there
with me on the shore cheering.
You’d absorb the weak winter sun
and inflate with vitamin D
until every seam in your body
has healed well beyond healing.
Eventually you’d have to undress
because your clothes had become
too plain for your gaudy flesh.
But that would happen after dark,
when the creak of the tough gray ice
would render words so jagged
you would feel them cutting the throats
of everyone you’ve left yearning.