Odalisque"Now that lilacs are in bloom
She has a bowl of lilacs in her room"Florida. Wallace Stevens and pink
ice-cream. My gay friend says, Girl,
have you ever screamed in anger?
Well --- that's not me.
I am "slender," sound as a flute:
in the crisp air of winter, wear nude
stockings and a lavender suit,
to find out who needs me.
In lightning, under sheets, I sweat
a yellow angel of regret.
Behind me, grass and branches turn
green: the world is fleet.
They see themselves upside-down
in me. All men are dogs, the married
doubly so: they think another clown
floats in my mouth, and has a bone
to prove it. Well, I won't get carried
off; I've never minded that,
to feel a mind work me like meal,
be written on, oh, even to feel
a sculpting pen adjust my hat:
we live for such a moment.
I've had lovers --- who has not?
Virgins horde their fruits. They rot.
I played gin rummy with sleeping pills,
took social visits to a psychiatrist ---
was never asked to pay the bills;
he made me triste ---
Half-revealed, a crescent moon,
I stayed up nights, unwhole and sharp ---
knowing that I move,
not that I fall.
On airplanes, highrises, trees,
a peacock of shattered glass.
I wonder, would I scream,
to see myself at last?
Today I cut my leaves and stalk
a lover, lilac bowl in bloom.
My train is a promise deferred,
my French a smile and single words.
Side to side we'll slowly rock.--- ©1995, Derek Webster