poetry for and inspired by Imaginary Garden with Real Toads
–free-write, first draft, just going for what I see…
IF DEATH WERE A WOMAN
She will come for me
like words do when they wake
me from dreams, printed
in my mind’s eye, an inkblot of
the perfect image, the perfect metaphor,
the perfect motif, the perfect theme,
the clearest point.
She will wear a black dress
that moves like it’s in oil, her figure
slight and round and complete;
her dark eyes will summon me
outside, to a garden, so dark the night
will be that it is almost purple.
The moonlight will reflect on one thing–
an orchid tall and splendid
and she’ll take me by her warm, bony hand
and lead me on in front of her,
“touch it” her deep, quiet voice will command.
Death will know herself.
Death will be confident, with the grace
only aged women know.
I will feel like Alice through the looking glass,
and I’ll tiptoe up to it, my white nightgown
clinging to my naked frame--had I been sick? I’ll wonder.
I’ll feel the sweat trickle down my neck
like some heat-maddened moth, and I’ll
suddenly be anxious and afraid.
everything fine, will tip up my chin
when I turn, and her eyes will
have yellow flecks like mine,
we share a scar beneath the left brow.
My nature has always been
not to disappoint, but this time
I am not willing to please-
and Death knows this, so her presence
will embolden me to embody
my own grace
and I will move my pale fingers
into the moon beam
and touch the orchid’s round center,
down into its curving dip.
“What do you wish to say?” Death will ask.
I will look to her again.
The orchid’s reflection glowing in her
irises–I will be bewitched. And see
she has smudged eyeliner on, and
her lips are fading.
Her dress that had moved like oil
will be disappearing into a white shift that seems
transparent but slowly
filling. The wrinkles that had been there
will start to trickle
and run down her face like
and I suddenly will remember
the words that had woken me
all those nights out of all those
nightmares and dreams–I’ll see
them in the ink of her tears
“What do you wish to say, Amy?”
her low voice is not asking,
I will turn back and step closer
to the flower, the moon’s light
blinding on my shift that
will seem to be fading
into something dark, something
beautiful–black, somehow, moving as if in oil.
My words will be printed on its petals;
a fine script emerging as I bend nearer
there they will be–the point.
The clearest point.
(*wow, where the hell did that come from? Interesting write, Real Toads!!)