blackbirdonline journalSpring 2010  Vol. 9  No. 1
print version

Last Date with Narcissus

See how the water reflects the shore?
he said. Instead, it absorbed—dull
as the wounds of the dead. We watched
plovers guard their nests, a lip of light whip-
stitch the horizon. Night seeped up like a gas:

and anesthetized, love-dumb, I, demure girl
echoed as he talked about himself. The lake
grappled with the sky; how he flattered! He whispered,
cajoled. Leaned a leg over the edge of the dock,
pulled out his cock. Sand like salt, a pillar
of tree—I shrugged, said why not? There was a curl

of wind, a scatter of seeds. I suffered a kind
of blindness: I loved, & nothing back. It’s not
that you’re unattractive, he said. South Manitou
Island lowered its ursine head. The lake steeled
itself beneath the sky. Beachgrass, jackpine, sand.

A field of narcissus by the two-track road. The bay
beckoned memory, forget. He held my hand, clutched
the back of my neck. The lake a silvered glass: flawed,
it showed only his face back. And that icon saw me
not at all—not lake, not sky, not human breath. A flower

with a yellow center. Then I pushed his hand down.
I swallowed my heart. I let that man drown.  end

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