Three Crowns of Misfortune
Down the tawny, blood-red, and orange cast-offs
fall, like fairies tossing their crinkled clothing,
party-worn and faded in golden slants of
all the Loves undone with her frock come falling,
dress undresssed, unbuttoned, unzipped, Misfortune,
barefoot, rootless, stripped of her silver tree bark,
shivers for strangers.
Not for strangers! Pitiless Love with velvet
gloves demands this stripping of leaf and costume,
downward dancing, falling forever, falling,
Wait for nothing, wait for the Loves, what matter
night that gallops, tramples her roses, horses,
wildmares, slung here fruitless and starved, Misfortune
slips on the cliff’s edge,
falls and falls with no one to catch her, over
rock face, street lamp, oceans apart from comfort,
mother, sister, lover; she sighs now, listen:
love is unlikely.
Melancholic silkiness, cobalt, Loves hum
blue, the sidewalk saddens in Spanish Harlem
drums at dusk, at midnight, then morning traffic
trumpets her shortfall.
Through the elms and ginkgos, alert to all her
listing, shrinking, deviance, sunk tomorrow,
no tomorrow ever, for sorrow’s lonely
arrows transfix her.
This is dark desertion, and silent, bitter
cold. She sits alone in the automobile,
waiting. Danger shoots her. The Loves go quickly
somewhere without her.
Now the wheel is seized by some force outside her.
Death will drop her over the bridge. Misfortune,
desperate, poisoned, jinxed, a forgotten fire,
fights like a soldier.