RHINOCEROS

 

RHINOCERUS

for Carlos Hernandez, on his birthday

 

many are the wonders

of our waterlogged city

 

one turquoise coat: canal-colored

velvet-silk, with silver lacings

one silhouette of lagoon-maid, sleeping

on mossy steps, hair wet and

red as a painted door

one mask, black as cuttlefish served

in its own ink

one glass stylus, one glass dagger, one seal

 

then the circus came

and all these marvels

palled

 

she knew at once

Pasiphaë’s passion, and burned

bucintoro-gold

to behold the Rhinoceros

 

calm, oblivious beast

mighty in his withers

ignorant of woman

who groans behind her mask

stricken

by double-horned desire

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