chromatomancer (chromatomancer) wrote,

Poem Upon the Occasion of a Cruise


An elderly couple accosts me in the Chicago-O'Hare airport
"It's so good to see you again!" trills the woman
"You sang so beautifully on that cruise!"

I've never been on a cruise in my life
but they are so sure
they smell like Florida
their cheerful sunscreen and hint of powder
for a moment I'm convinced

I was on a cruise
I sang beautifully

This is my first evidence
that I have a doppelganger

She's out there, she's been to Morocco and Prague
Cambodia, Bolivia, and Hungary
but never to Finland
(I'm not sure why, perhaps
she doesn't like her cousins the etiäinen)

like Donkeyskin she travels with her wardrobe in the ground
naked in the Alps alone but when it's dusk
she strikes the earth with a slender dowsing rod
and a gown springs forth
eager like a wellspring

dresses of sunlight and moonshine, and skins
donkey, lizard, dugong, and ladybird
socialite and reprobate

she carries a rod slung over her shoulder with a bindle
made from a giant cocoon spun by an obsessive-compulsive cecropia moth
she conscripted precisely for this task: she paid it in tea

inside the silk the burden varies
sometimes a small cat, or grief, or books, or sex toys
sometimes a collection of phasmids
these small phantoms and apparitions
are her advance army,
also her travel agents:
they cling to leaves they resemble
so closely they can't be detected
and report back with information
on climate, flora and local lovelies (fauna), twilight economies

she strides on seven league boots
a giantess with a laugh the size of Italy,
her boot in the Bermuda triangle
her ass somewhere off the coast of Crete
and apparently, now, an eyelash brushes the tip of Rum Cay

And always:
Her favorite occupation, figurehead,
ship's prow, stinging surf in her face, wind
to snatch away each song as it's sung
each love almost before it begins
each implausibility as it proves true
each truth as it becomes known

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