Greta; The Lady Seen in Riga


“You’ve stolen my childhood.”

Birds, blue skies and apple trees,
the braids a sign of childhood too;
as if she were a kid who’d draw
birds, blue skies and apple trees.

A house that sits along a path
through birds, blue skies and apple trees.
A square and half a square on top,
a chimney smokes a wood-less smoke.

The birds, blue skies and apple trees
untouched by axe; the house a prop,
no footprint real or carbonized.
Her braids a claim to childhood lost.

The birds are gone, the sky’s not blue,
the trees remark the taken ground.
What birds, blues skies and apple trees?
She never drew, she never found

the surety of childhood’s signs.
Greta’s come with wind and oar;
those braids declare a Viking raid,
a war we should have waged before.

There is terror to those eyes,
imagine she’s a child of mine—
there’s nothing right that I could do
to give her back the thing she wants,
a child’s rude sketch, a confidence
in birds, blues skies and apple trees.
The Lady Seen in Riga
She collects her pinks, piece by piece,
no thought has gone to matching them.
The sand-pink ballerina flats,
the salmon bag in kid a tad
too big, the pearl-pink sheath; the champagne
stole that glimmers near her lips
of Frost Anemone. You start
to think even her hair is combed
with whisperings of rosy streaks.

She hadn’t planned this panoply,
but wore her favorites, pink on pink.
Her knees just touch, her calves aslant,
slippered toe to slippered toe.
I’d guess no more than thirty-six,
even her cheeks are flushing pinks,
her bracelets links of pink-toned gold.

Her blushes blush to greater blush,
each pink a sign of inner pink,
demure soft lips; a rosy, flesh-pink room,
esurient, imperious,
the thunder of the waiting womb.