Enamel Eyes

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Paris, 1870


            Saint-Léon’s bright new ballet,

            Coppélia, showed Peace routing War.

            Then the real war hit like absinthe.

            Louis, now Bismarck’s captive, lapped


            rieslings up, not chardonnays.

            September we dug in for siege

            when our new French chiefs scorned to pluck 

            peace dangling like a ripe fruit.


No one can see through her enamel eyes

to know that mind that cannot read her book.

Her beauty clothes her like a grave disguise;


her porcelain forehead lets us fantasize

that she returns our penetrating look.

But none can see through her enamel eyes;


imagining a spark, we called her wise,

and now we fondle steel arms.  We mistook

her beauty, her clothes, her grave disguise,


her mechanical waltz ticking like a prize

of sacred pleasure in a secret nook.

Soldiers sighting through enamel eyes


find warfare welcoming as wind-up thighs,

inviting as a clockwork finger-crook

till graves clothe men’s beauty like a disguise.


A private screams her name; a lover sighs

and trades a warm hand for an iron hook.

No one foresees through her enamel eyes

how graveclothes love a beautiful disguise.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014