Enticed to Bed

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 7/10/08

Brackish hanks of thick green water creepingly circle
Round a primitively thicketed ox-bow island,
Back wash from a high tide that moves herself without wind.
On her torpid back, glops of flotsam drag long beards
Along the mucky dregs. These are slow, membranous
Movements, the trees, the water, the hazy, hot sky,
Like three sisters sharing the same soul,
One, fecund, one, languid, one aloof.
Together they enact a July ritual
Whose duration and discomfort, do not quite
Engender dread, but do hint at the presence
Of fire spirits somewhat inimical to creatures
With red inside them. What afternoon message
Is arising from this tripartite Goddess,
Burnished with amber by her sleepy Lord,
Her words evolving on the tongue
Of her biosphere for four billion years,
While her voice, the very labor of silence,
Is still a vivid shriek of new-born passion?
Her calm urgency has survived the collision of comets,
Hung enumerable rainbows on its hooks,
And weighed the very bulk of sun and day.
Yet we hear her, yes, we hear her, though she
Is deathly, deathly still, not willing to trust
Her song to the ugly noises of terrestrial muzzles.
It is the quiet itself that she commandeers
To tell her urges: “He takes me by the hair.
He tears my underthings. His nails draw creeks
Along my virgin skin.” Yes, now we understand
Why the salty flask must be drained again,
And the tide, once more, go down, and why
The fire spirits, for all their haughty rancor, are slaves
To her dark wishes. And why, in the end,
Our love for her will cause us to abandon
The red blood of our dismal self-involvement,
To lie incorporate in her brooding flood.

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