The sun is a Tudor arch sustaining the sky.
In a moment it will fall. Blackbirds
with crimson suns on their wings
squawk in protest, and my sister,
in lovely, billowy clothes from Anticipation,
picks a sky-blue cornflower that she’ll press
between pages of the O.E.D.
In the lightless vault of words
the petal tips will caress
an adjective from the Old French.
Now, as she strays through the field,
she asks me if she’s beginning to look like
Ophelia—she doesn’t know why,
she just imagines Ophelia long-haired
and pregnant—and I say, “No, no,
you’re a terrible singer and much too sane,”
and she pulls her ample sleeves
together in a solemn, mandarin way
and bows to the birds startling
the sky and bows to the dying sun
and bows to me, her younger brother,
who wants nothing more of the world
than to salt the stream before her
that she may float and float
and never drown.