set, but it couldn’t last.
They called you Swan Girl, Overnight
Surprise, the answer to everybody’s
wasted life. Would you do it all
again? Nothing was too difficult
in those days. You cantered ponies
through Hyde Park, chartered a Greek
yacht all summer down the Carolina coast.
Lovers slipped invitations into
the pockets of your Arctic fox.
But you let the double-talkers
have their way with you.
What started out as sonnet
at the masqued ball in Verona
turned to hit list—a wire mobile
built to destroy itself at the script’s
first call for wind. Rumors
of gray-suited men who could pin
nothing on you. Your blonde hair
grew out brown, a stranger’s child
was pulled dead out of you, yours
was the body that refused
to sleep. The sun was too loud
and the colors of your dresses
turned against you. The gold key
committee in your home town
kept changing the rules.
Everybody but dead lovers
missed the point. What else
was left? You were the debutante
of lost wishes, nothing
in the archives of your new faith
could have saved you.
We looked away
when your closed carriage passed,
older than we’d ever been, knowing
a different river touched you
as you slept.