Waiting for the Goddess

Waiting for the Goddess

“Only two months dead
And there you were, suddenly
back within reach.”
—Ted Hughes, The Offers

Waiting for the Goddess—as usual
Waiting for her to come—back in my dream
Looking down at—the churning bathtub
Meant for us bathing—despite cockroaches
Scuttling along the—linoleum floor
Here in my ruined house—same place we
Always meet—when I’m nude and wet
Getting ready to take—a nice hot bath
But lately she’s lost—her daemonic smile
No light in her eyes—beneath the lead sky
Sinking down through—the drainpipes
Oozing down past—fire-escape rooms
Like this one—without electricity
Goddess morning—Goddess night

I misjudged Sylvia—while I slept
Thinking the third time—was a charm
That surely she’d go back—to Honolulu
But she kept wandering back—touching me
While I held my breath—getting into the bathtub
She couldn’t help it—her undisturbed excitement
How do you tell a Goddess—to leave you alone?
I held my breath—every time she came back
Knowing it was a dream—deep in my brain
Pin-points of—White Goddess pricking me
Painlessly at first—spilling the world back
Night after night—into my lost world
Goddess morning—Goddess night

Forgetting the Goddess—inside her
Turning to kiss her—I kiss Sylvia
Tipping the balance—toward her again
But such tender visitations—get old quick
How can I avoid her—with any grace
When every night—the promises she
Makes me take—enslave me even more
She refuses to leave—won’t go away
Her terrible goddess love—living this way
Part-dead, part-alive—St. Sylvia tonight?
But only when—she chooses to

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