Remember when I used to keep you up
all night because I saw beasts
In dark doorways. So I held your hand.
Last night, Mikhail Baryshnikov came,
uninvited, he soared from southern window
Where the moon swivels, to the northern
where the stars converge.
His legs cutting dry November air like scissors
Pink tutu around his neck
And black cat-face ballet slippers…
Leo stormed into the room
Leonora Carrington herself!
Looking for her slippers, her face stern,
eyes deep-set, she directed: spin!
Then she painted him, a green gazelle
in pink ruffle collar and clown hair
Jumping over the moon, eating stars
Scraping antlers on Jupiter.
I watched them perform, gather up silks
into peacock tails, strut in oranges and purples
Trail rainbows behind.
Oh, what a show it was!
And we fell asleep
Covered in peacock feathers.
Next morning they were gone.
Just the pink tutu on the living room floor,
and Indians in snow canoes
On the back hills,
with their hands like ores, stuck on dry land
And they, too, were gone as quick as they came,
Rodin and Bernini now patiently
Shaping icy marble under the spruce.
Sometimes after their evening milk
Dylan and Donovan visits
They sit cross-legged on the bed,
ukulele perched on their stained socks,
they sing to me,
ballads about loving sharks
And a man so small he had to eat ants.
Dear Nell, I still see beasts sometimes
But mostly there are painters on flowers
and poets in the birds,
dancers on the wind-kissed branches
I sit among them, and they hold my hand.