Thin, silky ice on the river

Ayumi Beeler

Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, USA

And I am just asking for something true and clear.

But meaning comes to me jagged, fractured and blue and cold.

I can’t make sense of this brightness.

Do I find myself on the lake bed?

Or am I in the ballroom, again?

Lit in rosy hues by the stained glass,

quaint little heels creaking the floorboards, stirring the dust –

Almost like: I want someone to come to me, this time.

I don’t want to have to go to them.

I am trying to dream of something other than hollow space,

but the dream itself is the gauze of this gown’s lace train,

thin as frost, glittering, almost disappearing

when I hold it to the light.

They have placed me alone here in the center of the dance floor, a crooked and wasting doll.

I am the painting’s centerpiece, is that it?

(And you are not here at all.)

Somewhere out on the lake a mallard dips below the silver of the water, and,

re-emerging, shakes the droplets from his head.

His lover swims a little ahead of him. Her feathers are plainer than his.

Yet they both shine.