November 14th, 2020
I live in a genre the aged read.
Decrepit men tell their mendacities
before a final tomcatnap beneath
cracked granite mausoleum roof. This squeezed
social register, not quite weatherproof,
trickles on nipples; a drooping sundress
exposes flesh, rose, only ghosts reprove
or molest, witness this macabre burlesque.
I am an offering the dying will
request supine on their crypts completely
undressed, astride carved lids, contents can’t feel
this quivered kiss corporeal. Summon the
Naiad, with your penultimate vermouth,
same mutilated in your stupor of youth.
This is a very womanchildish sonnet in that it comments on things that happened to me in my youth — when I felt often used and unappreciated by partners. Aging has a way of making many experiences in life come full circle — and by full circle I don’t mean that I use people because I really strive never to make anyone feel like that. It’s not really in my DNA. I have too many feelings. I’m usually the girl who gets those hurt.
But the full circle moment for me has been, men who have grown older and sought me ought because they now appreciate what I did for them. One even did so on his death bed. It was a strange feeling, both so healing in a sense but also painful in its own bittersweet way — like losing a person you already lost again, this time to life and mortality.
A friend of mine called me a Naiad, and so I’ve been wanting to use that imagery in a poem. I felt the idea of these men summoning women to their crypts like some erotic death ritual married felt mythological, so the mythology of the Naiad I felt was appropriate.
I wrote this sonnet in a sunbeam on my bed today naked. I think that had a lot to do with its success.