We draw our lives after ourselves in streams—
The hurly-burly, the raw, rough, the long silken passage,
The lynx poised on the rock above, the bathing girl of our high dreams.
Those creamy, creamy shoulders and the brilliant, piercing eyes,
The suntanned skin, the tawny fur, the tension of the leap—
Who told you beauty and the beast could never share the selfsame paradise?
Do not think that these associations do not come and go—
The woman with her long, blood-red fingernails, lethal too,
The lynx, purring, pensive, turned albino, changed in the mind, soft as snow.
The woman, rising in the rift, streams and streams with gold:
We keep on making up her myth, holding, holding, setting stasis on the cat,
As if we would not run the risk, rupture that quietus, until the story, manifold, is told.
The lynx will keep his amber tone, her breasts are almond-white—
See how the mind goes back and forth with just two figures to control:
Think how the dam will slack and overflow when we lie down at night.
We stream and stream, push on, ahead, beyond—
I only tell you this because the lady with the blood-red nails may one day dive
Where the spill has left the maw of all reflection yawning in the pond.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 5 Number 5, on page 45
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