Mistress Vampire, by ROBIN MORGAN

That every artery your slow spine branches

is for me to prune--all play of sinew

skeletoned, eyes socketed, hips, haunches,

smile, and walnut brain decaying tissues


ripe as my fear that defoliates this midnight--

that what you are is lost to me as if

I never knew you, that even our love’s sweat

dries on the skin in seconds: not for myself


I mourn, though you melt through my flesh

like a bullet’s silver,

sing like a splintered stake green in my heart.

I who enshroud your human shape could labor


to turn you immortal, but love that art

less than your waking, dawn-lit, alive, alone.

Why do you lie so still? What have I done?

From “Upstairs in the Garden” (W. W. Norton: $9.95, paper; 251 pp.) 1991 by Robin Morgan. Reprinted with permission.