salome (1998)


Mother, father,
cousin, husband:
a dance for the covenant of blood.
Another circle of the sun
today; within the wrapping lies not one,
but seven veils for me, seven
veils through which to see.

I take out each, so slowly, wrap
my fingers in the silk. The bath lies steaming milk.
my skin alert to
the evening air that kisses the drapery,
sends shivers through my hair.
A thousand kisses, this,
slip across my skin.
I wind each length around, round
the run of my limbs, and when the
tapping comes, so am I bid, hid
only by the sheerest veil.

And when the tapping comes,
so will I give this gift of veil
unwrapping youthful
whim, unveiling that desire to
see, but not to touch
such
adolescent purity, virgnity
saved
for husband to be,
for a cousin to me.

The Baptist calls this heresy, and mother spits at such insult.
Herod is less bound to me
than my own promised spouse,
and spittle sits upon his lips
as he watches the dance, watches as I
toss my hair, swing hips, throw stares,
turn feet towards the moon.
He watches as I sigh, the silk
which swells my breast, the pulsing tune
that turns within, between the mound
saved for a cousins sounding
pound of flesh.

He gives one wish.

He gives one wish, and I not of age
to choose it for myself.
A girl before husbandry
remains her mothers' elf, and so to mother
I give it instead, this one wish
for a dance that raised
my fathers sceret bed.

And so, as mother does bid,
I ask for his head.

© 1998, 2004 Heather Corinna. All rights reserved.