These white, white women.
Coiffed and shroud-draped, antiquely spaced
in some dusty dance on the flank
of a cold sarcophagus.
Whose blood would spill onto pristine page
for the milky affection of their bland gaze?
Erato, what do you know of fire-
harping away there on your lyre?
My fierce love burns still through my fingers
scrabbling for luminosity
at these feeble keys
unlit by the beam of his full eyes.
There’s drought in my mouth
for a honey tongue and I gasp to drink
the perfection of that body
which starts flames in mine.
I want to fix his essence here;
but I cannot catch light.
~Polly Oliver (2017)