merely Cassiopeia swims there
below the roots of sleeping trees and troupes
of lake-fish in yellow shadows. easily she trades her sky
for the mirrored blindness of that flat silver circle
into which she sinks silently, warm and awake and
newly wet, dreaming her starry secrets.
the bottom’s blackness unfastens as others
collect at the bar, around the piano
- points of light in a dark room—
while above, her unworn dress unfolds itself on cue,
revolving lace and aquamarine and ceruleans
and higher still, her king sleeps innocently on,
the unwritten letter beside him.
the Camembert surprises her, the champagnes, the games,
the glittering exchanges, our poissons and oysters and bread
and delicate gold thread, Chopin’s frail hands,
our tossed bouquets, our soufflés, our one chance
surprises her—all this and then a space.
she smiles at the shy waiter, licks the salt
from her fingers and floats on,
leaving the plankton in their clamshells
unopened like herself, assembled,
lying still like herself in the curve
of a scalloped silver tray.