A Fable

Driving into the heart of night we arrive at the part
of the movie where I start tap-dancing, tap-tapping
across a tin sheet, a sort of surfing airborne pan

listing side to side, and me, tilting to
balance, announcing I am Esther Williams.
All is blue, salty with prayer and incantation,

all dazzling aristocratic hands. But it wasn't the heart
of night. There was no heart. It was true
about the tilting, but the moving not a movie at all,

just the usual drivel and sludge, and never having seen
Esther Williams, in truth I'd only conjured
a wet black forties one-piece and rubber bathing cap.

Oh what's the use. It's grief's freeze-frame churchyard
with its fresh cut dirge, its pretend heaven. Watch me
driving myself down this winding country road, top down,

one hand on the wheel, the other grabbing back my thick blond hair
like some Monica Vitti whose leopard kerchief the wind sucked off
long ago. Hours? Decades? Now, wanting a bit of chachacha,

she flips the radio dial loosing a grassy static,
a spasmodic numbing hive-buzz of stumbling bees.
She flips it off. She'll be drifting in that static soon enough

with her ballet flats and tin rigor mortis. Allora! In bocca al lupo
cries a child's nightlight, while night releases its indifferent stars.