No one else had ever told her that.
Only the shining wasp with a voice clean
as a spinning needle~
how water would hold her closer
than any body. Never betray her.
It would polish her bones like fever.
This is why she pushed her way through
cattails which sprang
like a crown of thorns along the riverbed,
her red slippers going burgundy
in the bloodwarm, tidal mud.
The water’s green meniscus wavered
in the swell of her advance. Abandoned,
her bouquet spread across the surface
like frail arms opening towards the perfect
cerulean sky. Her pale braids unspooled
like scrims of light. The spoiled lace
of her gown, yellowed with pollen
and sun, tangled in a willow branch torn
free in the past night’s storm, and
for a single breathless moment held
her in the shadow of that ancient tree,
while just above her watery eyes
the black wasp hung, unfurling paper
from its mouth like a delicate scroll
upon which nothing was written.
Or else it was something unbearable as grief.