Her Long-Limbed Beauty
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At fourteen, every cliché
of blossoming into womanhood
has literally come true.
Her long, tired limbs ache
from holding within them
so much beauty. She walks
down the street in tight jeans
and a worn leather jacket,
shaking her wheat-gold hair,
everything about her sun-glinted.
As I walk beside her I wonder
how we engendered this lank huntress,
this girl touched with the effervescence
of Venus arising from her seashell.
She condescends to share with me
the mundane task of shopping
as if on loan, momentarily,
from that region where the gods feast
and copulate and fall in love.
But at the sound of a harsh word
or hint of disapprobation,
she collapses her filly legs,
becomes instead a mermaid—
long hair flowing—drifting lazily
out to sea on a wash of feeling.
Then she will sit, isolated
upon her coral island, cradling
the telephone receiver to her ear,
as if holding a shell that murmurs
soft, singing sounds from a distant shore.
At night I can hear her body
brushing against the wall as she sleeps,
tossing in her dreams from girl to woman,
turning away from the circle of love
we have tried to provide. All night
she rides her horse, flying over fences
and yet falling, also, into the arms
of a boy we haven’t met; falling
out of the world of our protection,
into her own long-limbed beauty.
Copyright by Carolyn Zonailo: www.carolynzonailo.com,