a curse of opera (and love)

a curse of opera (and love)

Rochelle L. Harris Cox

beside each other in plush darkness, straining,
becalmed, they yearn for storm. he craves

herosong and maidenswoon, the ghostly ship
crossing the stage; she covets his bearded profile,
hair in a viking tangle, through fear liquid as wine

and gulped from the glass. i cried for the dead
men singing, he says later, eyes shadowed by sails

that tatter and flap like crows’ wings across axe-
split pine. she will not listen to the bellows
of warning bass and waning tenor, wanting

only tears or words that do not fall for her.
they long to taste that place where lips meet,

the soft crease that catches saliva, dries it taut
and white so all kisses sting of dark-sung
curses. maybe tonight they will turn to each

other: for dutchmen must sail until love anchors,
until maidens pledge by shedding skin on stone.

Rochelle L. Harris Cox

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