by Sue Proffitt

What’s a moon doing in this forest?

I hover above you, unseen but not unfelt
as you present your full face,
thin as transparent latex
brown and frilled as an old maid’s cap
blotched purple, a flower.

How is a flower a lung?
shrinking in, ballooning out –
bellows parasol
parachute moon-mouth –
my words slide off you
like rain off an umbrella.

I have seen you press yourself
against a vertical rope of weed
and stay there, as if thinking hard,
as if willing it to move,
then slide around it, viscous, untroubled,
trailing three, four feet behind you
poisoned filaments live as electricity.

And underneath?
Ruched skirts, creamy and crumpled
as a dropped wedding dress
hitched up again but unravelling
frayed trails, diaphanous frills
disintegrating threads.

What a marvel.
A moon in a wedding dress.

From Open After Dark, Oversteps, 2017