I see you’ll teach pre-Raphaelite to me
with words long cosseted away, such words
I’d thought were shot along the Somme.
I see your hair and think of “tress” and how
the poses those old painters loved are full of you
and how that curl along your back is why that dress.
I cannot picture what your softness could be for
But only for to warm my touch
which is no preface to another’s touch.
I picture how I’ll stop you on a stair
with all the others either up or down:
the party noises up, the kitchen noises down,
and on the landing in the moon-stare there
we’ll spiral inward, secret, secret.
I learn “boudoir”, the room without a use
except the mirror, there to turn your gaze inside
and while you sit, “rondure” is how I name your back
against the dark of all that’s less important.
I see that we will make a son
and name him “laughter in the night”.
I’ll learn how woman is the sabbath of the world,
she has no use beyond her contemplations
of her gestures in the mirrored light.
Do take this woman as your wife;
her yoke is easy, and burden, slight.