My enemy, each morning in the chill
Of shining white and biting light,
My enemy, so close at break of day,
Our lips too close to kiss,
Our eyes too close for sight,
My teeth are bared,
Your flesh too close to bite.
Your smile is strange, this morning, oh my love,
Did you forget the chessboard that we set?
You slid your bishop, can you then resent,
The queen I prod against your parapets?
The knight your king's engaging in a tete-a-tete?
The same way that we spoke
When first we met!
My enemy, I thought that black and white,
Sufficient stirred, by deed and word,
Could blend into a self-sufficient grey.
My enemy, a thought occurred:
That I was like a broken-winged bird,
And broken winged birds must learn to love the rats.
In retrospect, it seems absurd --
Hush now, my best beloved! You are mine.
Bound closer than a wedding band,
Upon your shriveled hand.
Hush now, my best beloved: You are mine,
Bound like the tide is bound unto the land.
You be the lady, darling, I will be the man.
Our body is a little girl's tea party, now,
Where we two sit, and play at pat-a-pan.
Mine enemy, I beg of you, one day,
A single day, let it be today.
Hush now, my best beloved! Go to sleep!
You wished to be the one who lives within the mirror-glass,
We signed our banns, and you agreed,
You said that all you wanted, now, was rest.
Your labors, then my darling one, are past.
(Image: Madame Jeantaud by Degas)