At the party the hors d’oeuvres
were lilies floating in the pond
The hungry guests left only one for me.
It was my party, but I had not ordered
Some of the guests started shouting
and shoving; then there was a fracas.
I slipped out to the terrace with my first love,
where she was sweeter and more beautiful
than I could believe.
But when I told her of my love,
she giggled (O that voice!) and offered me the last lily.
I smuggled it upstairs under my coat
and peeled it open under the bathroom fluorescent.
The skin was warm and fleshy, and underneath
was chocolate: a lacquered chocolate schemata
of the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes.
There was a pounding on the door
which swung open to reveal
my second, third and fifth loves,
who were dead confections, come to warn me:
Your fourth love is trapped in the basement
And I billowed out the window
to the green coast,
where I lived on cockles and squid,
and grew old.
One day I saw a mermaid
in the telescope, and gathered my ministers
for a sea-hunt,
for they loved a hunt.
We took after her in our fastest speedboat,
my ministers so dashing in their gray cloaks.
She dipped beneath the waves and returned
not a woman, but a horse.
Wailing and gnashing their teeth,
my ministers turned the boat around.
And I had to beg them to steer clear
of the rocks,
so clean was their despair.