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by Lisa Gratz

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.

Read all work by Lisa Gratz


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