Vermeer’s mistress


What can I conjure?
I chase you, laughing
down cobbled streets
in humid air
to lovelit lowlands
by the sea

Who will you be?
A lady wearing fur and pigment
fertile, lifting milk and pearls
you’ll drown atlantic time
with music from a clavier
you’ll read love letters
your wishes will come true.

Where will we venture?
We will go back
to a plain room
in a Dutch house
built on merchandise and spice
wrapped in cannibal tapestry
from the Tropic of Capricorn

What will we do?
We’ll wet our lips
we’ll take our clothing off
we’ll lie in a bed of down and oak
we’ll make romantic love
we’ll listen to the livestock
outside the open window
we’ll daydream, indolent
of human heroin

Will you love me again?
The question is,
will I concede
that you’re not who you seem to be
my fingered hopes
so delicately put
on barest pliant linen, stroked,
luminescent, hanging
on the wish that we

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